First Aid (FA) at Work – Manager Guide
First Aiders give emergency help to anyone who needs medical help. Anyone on your site injured or ill at work needs fast access to first aid. Your business must provide First Aid to helping and to prevent minor injuries becoming more serious until emergency services arrive.
I designed this small book “Managers Guide to First Aid at Work” to fit in a pocket. Inside are links to the current guidance and links, so will always stay up to date. Watch this video to see how to do it. There are key reference websites and information downloads that will help your First Aid service is appropriate, compliant, ready and responsive.
Amazon has a special deal – if you buy the paperback, you can download the electronic version for free.
A first aider is someone who has had special training with a certificate in first aid at work, which can be:
- The first aid at work certificate or
- An emergency FA at work certificate
What’s the impact on your business:
To decide what type of FA arrangements, managers should do a first aid needs assessment (see below to download free policy) looking at factors such as
- Numbers on site (including contractors and visitors) during weekends and shift/night work
- Types of people on site (are there inexperienced workers, disabled or those with health problems needing urgent help?)
- Type of work (look back at old accident records to see if there are common problems with some tasks or for dangerous work)
- The distance you are from the local hospital and access routes for ambulances to the site.
- Characteristics of the site (e.g. size and layout of the site and where workers are)
In the UK the least necessary FA provision at any work site is:
- A FA box
- A person who appointed by the employer to take charge of FA arrangements
- Information about the arrangements for workers
The needs assessment shows if a FA’er is required or not, and how much training. Here, the employer can appoint somebody (an ‘appointed person’ who does not need medical training) to take charge of first aid arrangements.
The role of the appointed person includes:
- Looking after first aid equipment and facilities
- Calling the emergency services when required
- Providing emergency cover when a first aider is absent because of unforeseen circumstances (this does not include annual leave)
What’s the impact on your workers:
Companies recruit FA’ers from the workforce.
They should be:
- Calm in a crisis
- Able to pass the practical and written exam at the end of the course
- Interested in health matters
- Released from their own work in an emergency
Some organisations offer extra payment for FA qualifications e.g. £200 per year as a recognition of the contribution made to the overall health and safety of the company.
See also choosing a First Aider
Do I have to do it?
In the UK:
- The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations require employers to offer adequate and FA equipment, facilities and people so that immediate help is available
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 specifies risk assessments. For first aiders this could include the possibility of infection from others; employers may need to consider whether to offer the Hepatitis B vaccination.
First Aid certificates need updating every three years. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends annual refresher training also.
How can Occupational Health Services help you?
When working in high-risk environments (e.g. railway, diving, nuclear, construction) occupational health services can assist with:
- The FA needs assessment, gauging the risk of health emergencies and injuries and factors that could influence this
- Deciding whether to vaccinate FA’ers
- Deciding what to include in the FA aid box (linked to the needs assessment)
- It may require an assessment of whether a special arrangement or an emergency response/recommended (e.g. for de-fibrillation, emergency response or rescue services).
Occupational health services can be your emergency response team, offering treatment and primary care and vaccination services. They can supervise and provide annual refresher courses with support for first aiders after serious incidents.
Further Advice and Reading:
- Selecting a competent First Aid training organisation – advice from the HSE
- For information and resources on all aspects of first aid, visit the HSE First Aid website.
- A guide for Automated External Defibrillators from the Resuscitation Council
- An editable First Aid Policy from WWS – just fill in the blanks. Or to see how it looks as a finished article download the PDF version (First Aid Policy)