First aid at work is not just a practical measure for ensuring safety but also a legal requirement in the United Kingdom. Understanding these legal obligations is essential for employers to ensure compliance and provide a safe working environment.
Legal Framework Governing First Aid in the Workplace
The primary legislation governing first aid in the UK is the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981. These regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and outline the duties of employers regarding first aid in the workplace.
Employers are required to conduct a thorough risk assessment to determine the first aid needs of their workplace. Factors such as the size of the workforce, the nature of the work, and the workplace environment must be considered.
Adequate Provision of First Aid Equipment
Based on the risk assessment, employers must provide suitable first aid equipment, facilities, and personnel. This includes ensuring the availability of a well-stocked first aid kit, and, if necessary, appropriate facilities like a first aid room.
Appointment of First Aiders
The Regulations require employers to appoint a suitable number of trained first aiders. The level of training and the number of first aiders will depend on the nature of the work and the number of employees.
There’s no absolute rule dictating how many first aid staff are needed in any business, but it is recommended that during work, there should always be someone in the business at all times who is first aid trained, so you can work out how many you need based on that. Most small or medium businesses should therefor have two first aid trained staff to allow for one to be absent at any given time. You can buy affordable, fully compliant first aid training by clicking
Employers must inform their employees about the first aid arrangements, including the location of equipment and the identity of designated first aiders.
The HSE sets the standards for first aid training in the workplace. First aiders must undergo a training course approved by HSE or a recognised awarding body. Refresher courses are also recommended every 3 years to ensure first aiders keep their skills and knowledge up to date. You can buy fully compliant first aid training online with us, by clicking here. Courses cost just £16 and you can get discounts if your order more than 10.
Employers are required to maintain records of any first aid treatment given at work. These records can assist in managing health and safety risks and can be crucial in the event of a workplace incident.
Legal Implications of Non-Compliance
Failure to comply with the first aid regulations can result in injured employees having stronger legal grounds to take action against the non-compliant employer. Not only can the employee go after you, but HSE can too. HSE will prosecute employers in cases where there is a significant risk, a disregard for established standards or persistent poor compliance with the law. Beyond legal consequences, inadequate first aid provision can lead to serious implications for the health or even the life of an employee.
Getting started is easy
So, you realise that the risks of noncompliance are not worth taking and you’re ready to take the first steps in getting your business compliant. Start with training up staff. You can buy fully compliant online first aid training by clicking here.