What First Aid Provision Do I Need?
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What first aid provision do I need?” In this article, we cover some of the areas you need to consider when assessing your company’s first aid provision.
The answer is that it depends on your company! The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state that you must carry out the first aid needs assessment. This assessment will help you to determine what first aid provision you need to provide. This covers first aid materials and equipment that are appropriate for the risks encountered in your workplace. In addition, the number of first aid trained personnel should reflect working patterns and numbers of employees.
The law also covers the training of first aiders. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) no longer approve first aid training providers and courses. This is good news as it means employers have greater flexibility and choice. However, the bad news is that you, as an employer, must ensure that the training provider you use is competent. The first aid course they offer must fulfil the correct criteria.
For our customers, this is not a worry as Envesca provides a range of accredited first aid courses. This means that our training courses will meet all of your first aid needs.
Firstly consider the type of work that you carry out.
In other words, look at the work activities, materials, and equipment used. In addition, examine the environment that your employees work in. This will give you an idea of the type and severity of injuries that you are likely to come across.
In a low-risk environment such as an office, injuries will be minor so a basic first aid kit should suffice. However, if your company uses power tools, vehicles or deals with COSHH substances such as chemicals, boiling water or hot fats, then you may have to deal with more serious problems. Catering companies may have to deal with serious burns whereas those in construction may encounter puncture wounds and crushing injuries. Choose a first aid kit whose contents will allow you to deal with the injuries that are most likely to occur.
The size of the kit will depend upon the number of employees you have.
Logically the bigger the company the more people you are dealing with. Remember though, you do need to consider where people are working.
If you employ one hundred people who are all in one location then a large first aid kit is a sensible choice. However, if you employ one hundred people and most of them are working remotely, then a smaller first aid kit will be more suitable.
Similarly, those who work remotely may do different tasks from those in the office so kit contents may need to vary as well. You may wish to refer to British Standard (BS) 8599-1.
Identify the number of trained staff required.
When deciding upon the number of first aid trained personnel that are needed there are two options:
- an appointed person
- trained first aider.
The roles of an appointed person are to look after the first aid equipment and facilities and call the emergency services when required. No first aid training is necessary for this role. However, many companies send their appointed persons on a Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work Course. If they have had this training, an appointed person can also provide emergency cover, where a first aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances. Some companies find that all they require is an appointed person, usually if their activities are low risk.
A first aider is someone who has been trained to a level appropriate to the circumstances.
For some employers a Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid is sufficient, for others, the Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work certificate, which covers more content than emergency first aid, will be required.
The number of appointed persons and first aiders will again depend upon your first aid needs assessment. It may be more appropriate to have several people trained in emergency first aid and only a few with the more comprehensive course. Again, those who are office-based may find that an appointed person suffices whereas other parts of your business require first aiders.
Finally, employers often ask if they should be providing first aid provisions for the public as well.
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 do not require employers to provide first aid for members of the public.
However, if your company provides a service to the general public, the HSE strongly recommend that you include them in your first aid needs assessment and make provision for them.