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First Aid

First aid in the workplace – what you need to know…

People can suffer injuries or be taken ill at any time – and this could be staff or your customers. It doesn’t matter if injury or illness is work or environment related, you should offer immediate attention – and call an ambulance if necessary. You should make arrangements to ensure this happens – it can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones…

What do I need to know?
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require you to provide ‘adequate and appropriate’ first-aid equipment, facilities and people so your employees can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work. What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in your workplace.

The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is:
• a suitably stocked first-aid kit
• an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements
• information for employees about first-aid arrangements

How do I assess our first-aid needs?
Small workplaces with low-level hazards may need only minimum provision, but your needs will depend on circumstance and risk factors. As an employer, you should be well placed to decide the provision you need – here are some of your initial considerations;


Other considerations will include:
• do any of your employees work at sites occupied by other employers?
• do any of your employees work shifts or work out of hours?
• do you have enough provision to cover for your first-aiders or appointed persons when they are absent?
• do members of the public visit your premises?
• what injuries and illness have occurred in your workplace and where did they happen?
• are your premises spread out, eg are there several buildings on the site or multi-floor buildings?
• is your workplace remote from emergency medical services?

What should I put in the first-aid box?
There is no mandatory list of items to put in a first-aid box. It depends on what you assess your needs to be. As a guide, where work activities involve low-level hazards, a minimum stock of first-aid items would be:
• a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid
• 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (of assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of work (you can provide hypoallergenic plasters if necessary);
• two sterile eye pads;
• four individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile; six safety pins;
• two large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings;
• six medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings; ˜
• at least three pairs of disposable gloves

This is just a suggested guide – more importantly – the contents of any first-aid kit should reflect the outcome of your first-aid needs assessment.

What is a first-aider?
A first-aider is someone who has done training appropriate to the level identified in the needs assessment. This may be:
• first aid at work (FAW); or
• emergency first aid at work (EFAW); or
• some other first-aid training appropriate to the particular circumstances of your workplace – eg Activity First Aid, Paediatric First Aid etc.

The findings of your first-aid needs assessment will identify whether first-aiders should be trained in FAW, EFAW, or some other appropriate level of training. EFAW training enables a first-aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. FAW training includes the same content as EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illness.

As a guide, the table suggests the first-aid personnel to provide under different circumstances.
To help keep their basic skills up to date, it is strongly recommended that your first-aiders undertake annual refresher training, which Diagrama can assist you with.

How do I identify and select a competent training provider?
First-aid training is available from a wide range of training providers who vary in price and regulation.

Diagrama Foundation’s training service United Safe Care delivers a range of fully accredited qualifications including FAW and EFAW, delivered by trained medics who have real-life experience of dealing with emergencies. Our instructors are fully vetted and NUCO certified. All proceeds from our training service help support vulnerable children and adults.

As an employer, you will need assurance that you have selected an appropriate training provider. You will therefore need to check that they meet the standards in a number of areas (due diligence). All training providers should be prepared to demonstrate that they:
• are competent to deliver first-aid training;
• have qualified trainers;
• teach relevant course content in the correct way;
• have the necessary quality assurance systems in place.

Diagrama has a range first aid courses for individuals and groups, starting from £48 per person, which can be delivered on site or at the charity’s training centre in Chatham.

For help with your first aid risk assessment and all workplace first aid needs, call the charity’s training service on 0800 169 0255 or email [email protected]