First Aid in the Workplace

For training for the public see Training Courses for Public, for those who work with Children such as youth workers who need a course with suitable content see such as Youth Wokers should see Training for Children/Youth Workers

A nail that has gone straight through someones hand

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropiate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. These regulations apply to all workplaces. What is considered adequate and appropiate equipment, facilities and personnel will be decided as part of a first aid risk assesment (information below taken from HSE). This may include FAW training or the use of appointed persons.

In schools The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1996 also applies. It says that a school must have a suitable room that can be used for medical or dental treatment when required, and for the care of pupils during school hours. The area must contain a washbasin and be reasonably near to a toilet, need not be usedly soley for medical purposes, but it should be appropiate for that purpose and readily avaliable for use when needed. (Guidance on First Aid for Schools, DfEE 2004 page 10).

White Star Medical can help with risk assesments, training staff, deciding on equipment, setting up first aid rooms, implementing response plans and getting a first aid team ready for their first call.

The governing body for first aid in the UK is The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), they have a first aid at work mini site available at (link will open in new tab or window).

4 Day First Aid at Work Course (FAW training)

The content of this course, trainer qualifications and trainer to students ratio are legal requirements and cannot be changed. All students will be supplied with an approved manual.

Course Length: 24 hours, spread over four days, including examination. Certificates are issued on successful completion of practical and theoretical exams and are valid for three years.
Minimum Students/Maximum Students: 4/12.

Content of Course (information below taken from HSE):

  1. Acting safely, promptly and effectively with emergencies at work.
  2. Use of FA equipment including contents of a FA box.
  3. Duties of employers and the legal framework.
  4. Maintaining simple factual records regarding the assessment or management of an emergency.
  5. Recognise the importance of personal hygiene in FA procedures.
    Deal with a casualty (adult) who:
  6. Requires CPR.
  7. Is unconscious.
  8. Is wounded or bleeding.
  9. Is suffering from shock.
  10. Is suffering from an injury to bones, muscles or joints.
  11. Has been burned or scalded.
  12. Has an eye injury.
  13. Has been overcome by gas or fumes.
  14. May have been poisoned or exposed to a harmful substance.

First Aid at Work (FAW) - Refresher

The First Aid at Work Refresher Course takes two days to complete. There is a maximum of 12 students, no manual supplied and on successful completion another certificate valid for three years is issued. This should be undertaken withing enough time to complete the refresher before the expiry date of the existing FAW certificate.

Appointed Person First Aid Course

This one day training course is for those who are acting as an Appointed Person in the workplace. The Health & Safety Executive curently defines an appointed person as someone the employer chooses: a) Take charge when someone is injured or falls ill, including an ambulance if required and b) Look after the first aid equipment eg: stocking the first aid box.

First Aid training is not a legal requirement at present for Appointed Persons, however it is expected to change in 2009 and will become a legal requirement. The Health and Safety Executive currently only reccommends some sort of first aid training, an Appointed Person cannot replace a First Aider at Work in a risk assessment or give any first aid treatment unless they have first aid training.

Course Length: 6 hours, including examination. Certificates are issued on successful completion of practical exam and are valid for three years.
Minimum Students/Maximum Students: 4/15.

Content of Course:

  1. CPR.
  2. Choking.
  3. Shock.
  4. Dealing with an unconscious casualty.
  5. Bleeding.
  6. Accident Books and RIDDOR reports.

Consultancy and Planning

White Star Medical can give advice and help in planning first aid needs in the workplace. This can be incorparated as part of training or as a seperate service.

The stages are outlined below:

  1. Risk Assessment for First Aid Needs
  2. Numbers of First Aiders & Appointed Persons. Any extra training required (oxygen, defibrillators etc).
  3. Equipment
  4. Facilities
  5. Implementation & Deployment
  6. Testing (Training Exercises)

Sections a) to d) will form part of the legally required first aid risk assessment all companies and organisations should carry out regardless of size. Health and Safety at Work (First Aid) Act 1981.

a) Risk Assessment for First Aid Needs

This is an assessment of what risks there are in various departments in a company.

b) Numbers of FA/AP and any extra training required.

From the information gained in section a), you can calculate how many First Aiders and Appointed Persons you will need to ensure that the right numbers are on duty at any one time.

You must take into account;

It is considered best practice to take into account members of the public using facilities such as cinemas, shopping in supermarkets etc.

At this stage the need for any additional training such as oxygen administration and defibrillator training can also be evaluated.

c) Equipment

Once you know the details from a) and b) you can calculate what equipment will be needed. Where to position first aid boxes eye wash stations and any advanced equipment such as defibrillators.

d) Facilities

Will a First Aid room be needed and where should it be, what equipment should go in it and so on. Stock cupboards, restocking boxes and reordering plans. Manual handling equipment like carrychairs and evacuation chairs. If the premises is a school it has seperate additional legislation concerning First Aid covered in The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1996.

e) Implementation/Deployment

How are you going to implement your first aiders and respond to emergencies. (PAXB mobile phones connected to main switchboard, radios, pagers, tannoys, internal phone system, word of mouth). On call first aiders etc.

f) Testing it all (Exercises)

Once it's all been put in place, it should be tested so that all staff get used to their role in first aid emergencies. The best way to test a system is to use it in as realistic a way as possible, a good example is a fire drill. For more information see training exercises on the Other Courses page.