First Aid – Manager Guide

First Aid (FA) – Manager Guide

When employees, contractors and visitors are injured or ill at work, it is vitally important that first aid is available to save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming more serious until the emergency services arrive. First Aiders are trained to give emergency assistance to anyone who needs medical help.

A first aider is someone who has had special training with a certificate in first aid at work, which can be either:

  • The first aid at work certificate or
  • An emergency FA at work certificate
 A written table of types of first aid training available
Course details courtesy of British Red Cross

What’s the impact on your business:

In order to decide what type of FA arrangements you need, managers and employers should do a first aid needs assessment looking at factors such as:

  • Numbers on site (including contractors and visitors) especially 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 particularly 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, where workers are working on site)

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 may show that a FA’er is not required. In this case, 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 due to unforeseen circumstances (this does not include annual leave)

What’s the impact on your workers:

First aiders are usually recruited from the workforce.

They should be:

  • Discreet
  • Trusted
  • Calm in a crisis
  • Able to pass the practical and written exam at the end of the course
  • Interested in health matters
  • Able to be released from their own work in an emergency

Some organisations offer extra payment for FA qualifications e.g. £200 per year as 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:

  1. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations require employers to offer adequate and FA equipment, facilities and people so that immediate help is available
  2. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 assessments should include any risk to health. For first aiders this could include the possibility of infection from others; employers may need to consider whether to offer the Hepatitis B vaccination.

Re-training for the first aid at work certificate is necessary every three years although the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strongly recommend that all first aid personnel are given annual refresher training.

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 should be included in the FA aid box (linked to the needs assessment)
  • Assess whether a special arrangement or an emergency response may be required/recommended (e.g. for de-fibrillation, emergency response or rescue services).
A white cross on a green background with First Aid at Work written beneath cross
First Aid at Work – Manager Guide

Occupational health services can also be your emergency response team, offer treatment and primary care services and vaccination services. They can supervise and provide annual refresher courses with support for first aiders after serious incidents.

Further Advice:

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

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