What Are Employers First Aid Responsibilities?
We’ve all noticed a first aid box tucked away in a cupboard. However, as an employer do you know exactly what first aid responsibilities are? What should you really be providing?
In the event of a workplace injury or sudden illness, failure to provide adequate first aid could result in a casualty’s death. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will prosecute where there is a significant risk or persistent poor compliance.
In this article, we share your first aid responsibilities as an employer.
What You Need to Do
The employer must ensure that an employee who is taken ill or injured at work receives immediate attention.
As a minimum in a low-risk workplace such as a small office, there should be:
- a suitably stocked first aid box
- an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements, for instance telephoning the emergency services if the need arises
- information for employees about first-aid arrangements
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Employers are required to carry out a first aid needs assessment considering:
- Workplace hazards and risks, such as chemicals and acids, dangerous machinery and working under confined conditions.
- The size and geography of the organisation, number, and type of employees, including inexperienced workers, or employees with disabilities.
- Working arrangements, type of work undertaken and anomalies such as lone workers, overnight shift patterns, travelling in company vehicles and sharing premises with other businesses.
- Any other relevant factors, such as previous accidents and ill-health records and to work premises by the public.
In addition, workplaces containing more significant health and safety risks need:
- To provide the appropriate number of trained first aiders.
- A full range of first aid equipment suitable for their business.
- To provide a first aid room for employees.
What the Law Says
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide ‘adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel. In other words, they need to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. Similarly, these regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with less than five employees and the self-employed.