First Aid law in the UK – Your questions answered
Having the right First Aid equipment and qualified staff isn’t just a good idea for companies in the UK, its the law!
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require you to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid facilities, equipment and people so your employees could be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at the workplace.
You can also download a free guide covering all aspects of the regulations from the Health & Safety executive.
As an employer within the UK you have to, regardless of size, provide a plan for the application of First Aid at Work. If an accident occurs and you do not have correct first aid cover, you could be liable for prosecution and you may also invalidate your insurance.
Employers must ensure that employees receive immediate help if they are taken ill or injured at work.
The law applies to every workplace and to the self-employed, regardless of size.
You must have the following:
- a suitably stocked First Aid kit
- an appointed person or persons that will take charge of first aid arrangements
- information for all of your employees, which tells them about first aid arrangements
Assessing your First Aid needs
Finding out what adequate and appropriate first aid arrangements you have, this will depend on the work you do and where you do it.
You’re best placed to understand the nature of your work, so you should assess what your first aid needs are.
You must consider the following:
- the type of the work you carry out
- potential hazards and the likely risk of them causing some harm
- the amount of employees you have
- work patterns of your staff
- holiday and other absences of first aiders and appointed persons
- the history of accidents in your business
You might also consider:
- the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
- the proximity your sites are to emergency medical services, such as the nearest hospital
- whether your employees are working on any shared or multi-occupancy sites
- the layout of the workplace – multiple buildings or floors
- first aid for non-employees including members of the public
You don’t have to write down your findings, but if you do, it will allow you to record how you’ve decided on the first aid arrangements of the company.
Appointing someone to take charge of First Aid
Your appointed person or persons are then in charge of your first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the equipment you have, facilities and calling the emergency services in the event of an incident.
You can have more than one appointed person and they don’t need to have any formal training.
An appointed person must always be available whenever people are at work.
What should be included in a First Aid kit?
The contents of your first aid kit should be based on the first aid needs assessment you completed. As a guide, where work activities are considered low-risk (for example, desk-based work) a minimum first aid kit might contain:
- a simple leaflet with some general guidance on first aid (for example, HSE’s leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work
- individually wrapped sterile plasters that vary in size
- sterile eye pads
- safety pins
- large and medium-sized sterile, individually wrapped, unmedicated wound dressings
- individually wrapped triangular bandages, which are preferably sterile
- disposable gloves
This is a suggested contents list.
If you are buying a First Aid kit for the first time, look for British Standard (BS) 8599. By law, your kit doesn’t have to meet this standard but you should check it contains what you’ve identified in your earlier needs assessment.
Ensure you check your First Aid kit regularly. Many items, particularly sterile ones, can be marked with an expiry date. Replace expired items, disposing of them safely. If a sterile item doesn’t have an expiry date, check with the manufacturer to find out how long it can be kept for. For non-sterile items without dates, you should check that they are still fit for purpose.
First Aiders and Training
You might decide that the company needs someone trained in First Aid, sometimes known as a first aider.
There are no hard and fast rules on how many trained first aiders you should have. It depends on the nature of your work and its location.
First aiders are trained by a competent training provider, such as Medi Aid
- Emergency first aid at work (EFAW) – at this level they’re qualified to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work
- First aid at work (FAW) – qualified to EFAW level but can also apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses
Use the findings of your first aid needs assessment to decide:
- if you need someone trained in first aid
- what’s an adequate and appropriate level of training
- how many people you train
Keep training up to date with regular refresher courses.
Providing for First Aid needs is for every company in the UK by Law. Depending on the size of company and the nature of your work, your needs will change.
As an employee is it your duty to ensure that you have everything in place, should an accident occur.
Medi Aid has been providing first class, fully certified First Aid training to individuals and companies since 1993. We cover a large proportion of the South East including London, Kent, Surrey, Essex & Sussex.
We run regular courses at our large range of training venues across London and the South East, as well as in-house training at your location.
Medi Aid – Train at your venue or at ours!
At Medi Aid you can train at our place or at yours. Train with us at one of our scheduled training event days or simply contact us about training at your address. We can accommodate both small and large groups
Accredited & Compliant
Medi Aid is compliant with the First Aid Industry Body, as well as the Health & Safety executive (HSE) and the Federation of First Aid Training organisations (FOFATO)
28+ years experience
Medi Aid has been teaching first aid throughout the South East of England for over 25 years. You can be confident our expert trainers will guide you every step of the way