First aid at work is a very important element of ensuring compliance with your duty of care as an employer in regards to Health & Safety. While of course we hope it is never needed, you must consider the risks your employees may be exposed to while carrying out their duties to prevent any accidents, and if they do occur, are well prepared and able to deal with them.
As an employer, you are legally required to take care of your employees should they become ill or have an accident while at work. Having trained first aiders could make the difference in preventing minor incidents becoming major ones. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, state that employers should provide adequate and appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill employees.
The rules and regulations surrounding first aid at work can be confusing and perhaps a little vague, so we have put together the basics to help you understand what is needed, to meet you obligations as an employer.
Firstly you must assess the first aid needs based on the nature of your business and provide adequate equipment and appropriate training. So, start off by considering what are the potential health and safety risks within the business, in order to decide what needs to be put in place. For example, the number of employees, the nature of the work carried out, the layout of the office/site environment, whether any employees have any existing medical conditions or disabilities that need special consideration?, whether employees travel for work?, out of hours working/shift work, whether you have a high number of visitors to the site?
Also consider practicalities, for example, if you decide to have one first aider, would all shifts be covered? and what happens if the appointed person is off sick or on holiday?
Businesses which are considered small low risk environments, may decide they only need to have a first aid box and someone responsible for stocking this, recording accidents and calling the emergency services if necessary. Whereas larger or higher risk environments such as a factory or construction site, where there are greater health and safety risks, at least one fully trained first aider would be required. All first aid arrangements put in place must be communicated to employees.
We would recommend keeping a record of this risk assessment, to prove you have duly considered all risks and made a judgement on the provision for first aid within the workplace.
Once you have a risk assessment completed, you can decide how many first aiders are needed. As mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer by law, but it needs to be ‘adequate and appropriate’, but what does that mean?! This can be open to interpretation, but we would recommend as a guide that for low risk companies with 5 to 50 employees, you have at least one person formally trained in first aid, holding an Emergency First Aid at Work certificate, then another first aider per 50 additional employees. Under 5 employees, you should at least have an appointed person to take responsibility of first aid at work, they may not be first aid trained, but they will be responsible for ensuring the first aid box is fully stocked and calling the emergency services if required if an accident occurs.
First aid training is readily available from a variety of providers and locations, if you would like to have a discussion on how to implement it in your business, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.
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