First Aid Requirements – What You Need to Know

If an employee is taken ill or injured at work, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure they get immediate help. 
The first aid requirements cover your first aid kit and what should be included, how to train workers and appoint suitable first aiders.

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What are the first aid requirements?

If an employee is taken ill or injured at work, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure they get immediate help.  To do this the employer must ensure that everything is in place.

This is the law, and it applies to every place of work and also to the self-employed.

In place there must be:

  • A first aid kit which is suitably stocked with all items in date
  • A person or people must be appointed to take charge of first aid
  • Information that tells all employees about first aid arrangements

How to assess your first aid requirements?

First-aid needs vary across the board, they all depend upon what work you do and where.  The first aid requirements and needs that should be in place must be ‘adequate and appropriate’.

An assessment needs to be undertaken as to your exact first aid requirements and needs.  These may change over time if your work practices change, or locations change so they should be reviewed.

Things for consideration when assessing your first aid needs:

  • What is the type of work that you do?
  • What are the hazards and the likely risk of them causing harm?
  • How many people are employed?
  • When does everyone work, or does this change regularly?
  • How will you cover first aid (first aiders and appointed persons) when annual leave and other absences happen?
  • What is the history of accidents that have happened in the business/industry you work in?
  • What are the needs of workers that travel?
  • What are the needs of workers that are remote?
  • What are the needs of workers that are lone workers?
  • What are the locations of medical emergency services where people are working?
  • Are your workers working on shared sites with others?
  • Consider first aid for other people such as non-employees and members of the public

How do you record your first aid requirements?

The HSE state that findings do not have to be written down but that it allows you to record how decision’s for first aid arrangements have been made.

In reality, the best practice way to show you have considered first aid requirements is to record your findings.  By recording your findings this gives you a document that you can review as and when required and you can keep copies to show how things change over time and that appropriate assessments have continued to be made.

How do you appoint someone to be in charge of first aid?

The appointed person will be the one who takes charge of first aid arrangements.  More than one person can be appointed and this is usually the case to cover holidays and sickness and also for larger organisations that have larger requirements.  The appointed person duties include checking and looking after equipment and facilities and also calling the emergency services if the need arises.

HSE state that appointed persons do not have to have any formal training, however in our experience some training to ensure they know how to act within this role is best practice.  A lot of the time this duty falls to the trained first aiders or the person that deals with health and safety overall.

The appointed person(s) are required to always be available when people are at work.  This will include arrangements for an appointed person to be available if work outside of normal working hours is carried out such as evenings and weekends.

What should you put in a first aid kit to help meet your first aid requirements?

First Aid Requirements

This will depend on work activities because different work activities will require different degrees of first aid to be made available.  For instance, an office environment will usually require less in the first aid kit than a factory, so this must be assessed.

The HSE suggest that a basic/minimum first aid kit should comply with British Standard BS 8599. The minimum requirements for first aid kits in the workplace should be

  • The HSE’s leaflet on basic health and safety Basic advice on first aid at work (
  • Plasters that are wrapped individually and of different sizes
  • Eye pads which are sterile
  • Triangular bandages which are individually wrapped and preferably sterile
  • Safety pins for use with bandages
  • Sterile wound dressings of varying sizes (unmedicated)
  • Disposable gloves

The first aid kit(s) should be checked regularly to ensure they are fully stocked and in a good condition.  Sterile items should have expiry dates checked and be replaced as required.  Items without expiry dates should be checked they are fit for purpose.

What training is required for first aiders?

The rules around the number of first aiders isn’t fixed.  The decision on the number of first aiders will be in line with the type of work that is undertaken and the location of work.  This decision should be made from your first aid needs assessment.  The first aids need assessment will help you to decide if you need trained first aiders, to what level of training they need and the number of first aiders that you need to meet your requirements.

There is a choice of level of first aid training available:

  • EFAW = Emergency first aid at work
  • FAW = First aid at work

EFAW – Emergency first aid at work qualifies people to help someone who becomes injured or ill whilst at work.

FAW – First aid at work qualifies people to EFAW level however they are also able to help someone with a larger range of injuries and illnesses.

The training must be delivered by a competent training provider.  As the employer you are responsible for ensuring the training organisation is competent to deliver the training to your employees.

Most organisations choose from one of the four recognised routes for training which are: qualifications from an awarding organisation, from an accredited body, an independent provider that can prove competence or one of the three voluntary aid societies recognised by the government which are St John Ambulance, British Red Cross or St Andrew’s First Aid.

Once trained the qualified first aiders must keep their training up to date by regularly undertaking refresher training.

What first aid is required for people working from home and out of the office?

The HSE state that if work is deemed low risk e.g. desk work and the workers are within their own home then nothing is required above that of a normal domestic household.

For those who undertake a lot of driving as part of their work the HSE suggest that individuals carry first aid kits.

If someone is self-employed and forking in a shared office e.g. shared workspace with other self-employed people, then you’re legally responsible for your own first aid provision and requirements.  However, a joint arrangement between you and the other workers can be which is usually a written agreement between all parties where one employer takes on full responsibility for the first aid for all workers on the premises.

Do you need assistance with your first aid requirements?

Like many businesses, a lot do not have the competence in-house or do not want to undertake this task themselves.  You see a lot of employers don’t have the right skillset themselves or do not have the time because running a business itself is a mammoth task let alone dealing with all the intricacies of health and safety.

This is where sourcing the right help can be a weight lifted off your shoulders.  But like anything it must be undertaken as a buyer beware exercise.  There are lots of health and safety advisors and consultants in the marketplace, but you need to ensure you find the right one for you.

As an employer, managing health and safety is still your legal duty, so you need to find a company that understands you and your company.

Our team of consultants all have different disciplines so we will have the right fit for you and be able to meet your needs. We can help you to assess your exact first aid needs and help you meet the Government’s stringent laws.

If you want to chat through this or any service more then book a call today with one of our health and safety consultants.

Book your FREE health and safety review surgery with our Health and Safety expert John Crockett IMaPS, SIIRSM RSP, ACIOB.

This is a free 30-minute video call where you get the opportunity to discuss and diagnose any current health and safety compliance issues.

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