The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 set out the essential aspects of first aid that employers need to address.
These Regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with fewer than five employees.
Employers have a legal duty of care, to plan to ensure that their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. It does not matter whether the injury or illness is caused by the work they do, what is important is that they receive immediate attention and that an ambulance is called in serious cases.
First aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. First aid provision in the workplace covers the arrangements that need to be made to manage injuries or illness suffered at work. The Regulations do not prevent staff who are specially trained from acting beyond the initial management stage.
Risk Assessment of First Aid needs
Employers should assess first aid needs appropriate to the circumstances (hazards and risks) of each workplace environment.
The aim of first aid is to preserve life, alleviate suffering, prevent, or reduce the effects of injury or illness suffered at work, whether caused by the work itself or not. First aid provision must be adequate and appropriate in any circumstances. This means that sufficient first aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be always available, taking account of alternative working patterns to:
- provide immediate assistance to casualties with both common injuries or illnesses and those likely to arise from specific hazards at work;
- summon an ambulance or other professional medical assistance.
Where an employer provides first aiders in the workplace, they should ensure they have undertaken suitable training, have an appropriate first aid qualification and remain competent to perform their role. Typically, first aiders will hold a valid certificate of competence in either first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW). EFAW training enables first aiders to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. FAW training includes EFAW and equips first aiders to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses.
Written by John Bowles a trained Freelance Training Instructor holding City and Guilds in Health and Social Care (Level 2) and (PTLLS Level 3) Teaching and Training Qualification from the (HABC) Highfield Accreditation Body for Compliance.