How Many First Aid Qualified Staff Your Business Requires

Determining the number of first aid qualified staff is a critical aspect of workplace safety. In the UK, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 provide some guidance on this matter, but unfortunately there is no absolute, one-size-fits-all answer. The required number depends on several factors unique to each business.

What are the factors?

  • Business risk level & nature of work
  • Number of staff
  • Physical layout of the business
  • History of accidents in the business

Understanding these factors

A low-risk environment might include offices or shops, whereas high-risk settings could be construction sites or factories with heavy machinery. The risk level directly influences the number of first aiders needed.

The number of employees is another key determinant. Generally, for workplaces with fewer than 25 employees in a low-risk setting, all working on the same floor, at least one first aider is recommended to be available at all times. But depending on the nature of the work, number of floors, and accident history, you may increase this accordingly.

In large businesses with more than 25 people per floor, you should aim for 2 or more trained first aiders per floor at any given time.

Businesses with a history of first-aid incidents occurring, should consider upping the count of qualified first aiders because there’s a higher chance of two incidents occurring at the same time.

Our 10-second rule

We apricate that some might find this guidance a bit vague. So, you might find Essential Food Hygiene’s 10-second rule helpful in determining the number of first-aid staff your unique workplace will need. The rule is as follows:

Have one first-aid qualified staff member reachable within 10-seconds, from all areas of the workplace, during all hours while staff are present.

This rule won’t only help you decide how many first-aiders you’ll need, but also perhaps who those first-aiders should be.

Speed of first aid is extremely important, and can mean the difference between life and death, which is why you should aim for 10-seconds as the benchmark.

If you think the 10-second rule is overzealous, consider what would happen if a staff member was choking on some food and couldn’t breath. Without oxygen, they would likely have permanent brain damage in just 4 minutes, and be dead within 4 – 6 minutes. In such case, CPR should commence within the first minute, which is why access to immediate and effective first aid intervention is necessary in the workplace.

As a further testament to the importance of speed, a study from the Red Cross estimated that 59% of all deaths from injuries could have been prevented if first aid had been delivered before the emergency services arrived on the scene.

Don’t forget staff absence

It’s important to have enough qualified first aiders to cover for absences due to holidays or sickness. This ensures continuous first aid coverage during all working hours.

Where to get compliant and accredited first aid training?

Getting first aid training is easy and convenient thanks to the internet. With an affordable online first aid course, you can do your legal due diligence, thus protecting your business, while also safeguarding your staff. Click here to see our fully accredited, legally compliant first aid course.