Do You Need A First Aider At Work By Law?

People can become ill or get injured while at work. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, it’s very important to provide them with immediate medical attention when that happens, irrespective of whether work done by the employees directly caused the misfortune or not. In serious cases, it is imperative to call an ambulance. Arrangements should be made to make sure this happens. Timely provision of first aid can help prevent the development of minor injuries into major cases. Additionally, first aid workers can help save lives.

First aider is a term that describes someone who has undergone training relevant to the point prescribed in the organisation’s needs assessment. The level may be:

1. First-Aid-at-Work.
2. Emergency First-Aid-At-Work.
3. Other training suitable for the exact workplace circumstances.

Findings of the first aid needs appraisal can help determine if first aiders ought to go through FAW training, EFAW training or other suitable levels of training.
Emergency First-Aid-At-Work training gives someone ability to provide emergency services to people who become sick or sustain injuries while at work.
First-Aid-At-Work training consists of similar content. Additionally, it equips the trainee with skills to attend to people with a variety of injuries and illnesses.

Other suitable training levels may comprise of additional content or specialist content apt for your specific circumstances.
To keep the skills of first aiders up-to-date, they should go through refresher trainings every year.

What is the difference between a first aider and an appointed person?

As earlier mentioned, first aider is a term that describes someone who has undergone training relevant to the point prescribed in the organisation’s needs assessment.
On the other hand, an appointed person is an individual who takes charge of all first aid arrangements in an organisation that does not necessarily require the services of a first aider. A needs assessment exercise is usually conducted to determine whether an organisation requires a first aider or not.

So, do you need a first aider at work by law?

Even in small, low risk organisations where management may consider first aiders as unnecessary personnel, there are possibilities of occurrence of unexpected illnesses or accidents. For that reason, someone must be available all the time to coordinate the arrangements.

Looking after equipment, facilities and calling for emergency services when necessary are some of the roles of an appointed person. Additionally, the individual is also expected to step-in in case the designated first aider is absent because of unexpected circumstances. First aid training is not necessary for an appointed person.
It is needless to have an appointed person in a work place where there are enough suitably-trained first aiders.

Appointed persons versus first aiders

In case a supervisor has no first aid training and an accident occurs in the workplace, he or she is expected to do the following:
a) Take charge in the event that someone becomes ill or gets injured at the work place.
b) Get in touch with fire stations, the police or other providers of emergency services.
c) Make sure that the person who has become sick or suffered injuries gets access to first aid equipment.
d) Contact a competent first aider.
Appointed persons are prohibited from attempting first aid treatment that surpasses their experiences or training levels.
Choosing an appropriate training course- how to go about it
Employers are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that first- aid workers are happy with the training that they receive.
The following are factors that should be taken into consideration when looking for suitable providers of first-aid training services:
A. Qualifications of the trainer.
B. Duties and responsibilities that the trainees should be capable of undertaking afterwards.
C. Specific course that the trainer will teach and the course structure as well.
D. Qualifications that the trainees will subsequently receive.
E. Quality assurance measures that have been put in place (if any) to appraise training outcomes.

There are a wide range of exceptional training courses and materials available that can be used to train people on how to provide outstanding first aid services at workplaces. The courses range from nationally accredited EFAW and FAW qualifications to content developed by independent providers, to courses developed by British Red Cross (BRC) and Saint John’s Ambulance.

How to identify and choose competent first-aid training providers

A wide range of organisations and individuals provide first aid training. They include:
a) Organisations that provide nationally accepted and regulated FAW & EFAW qualifications.
b) Independent service providers.
c) Saint John’s Ambulance, Saint Andrew’s First-Aid & British Red Cross (BRC), among other voluntary aid organisations.
d) Those that provide training under voluntary authorised schemes.

Employers must get assurance that they have chosen the most suitable training providers. For that reason, due diligence must be carried out to ensure that the training providers meet the minimum qualifications in several areas.

Training providers should provide proof of the following:

i) Competence and ability to offer first aid training.
ii) Measures that they have put in place to ensure that training provided is of high quality.
iii) Have qualified first aid trainers.
iv) Teach applicable and correct course content.
What are employers expected to do?
According to the Health & Safety rules that were enacted in 1981, all employers are required to provide sufficient and suitable first aid equipment, personnel and facilities to enable their employees get immediate help in the event that they become sick or get injured at work.
What is sufficient and suitable will be determined by circumstances in the work place. It’s therefore important for employers to evaluate the nature and extent of their first aid needs.
The minimum provisions for any work place are as follows:
1. A first-aid kit that is appropriately stocked.
2. Information for employees concerning first aid arrangements.
3. An appointed person who can coordinate and manage first-aid arrangements.
Remember that illnesses, accidents and other misfortunes can occur unexpectedly. For this reason, first aid needs must be provided for whenever employees are at work.

Factors to consider when evaluating first aid needs

If the work place is small and with low-level risks, the employer will only need to meet minimum requirements for first aid. However, certain factors and circumstances may necessitate the need for greater provision. Employers are in the best positions to determine the nature and extent of provisions required.

Contents of the first aid kit

The list of items that ought to be included in the first aid kit depends on the organisation’s needs as determined by the needs assessment exercise. There is no specific list of items that MUST be included. As a general guide, where the work environment is classified as low-risk, a minimum list of objects that should be in the kit are as follows:

1. A leaflet that provides general guidance concerning first aid.
2. Three or more pairs of gloves that can be disposed after use.
3. Twenty individually enfolded sterile papers suitable for the nature of work. If it is necessary, you can enclose hypoallergenic plasters.
4. Six individually wrapped wound dressings. The dressings should be sterilised, of medium size and un-medicated.
5. Two sterilised eye pads.
6. Two large wound dressings. The dressings should also be separately wrapped, un-medicated and sterilised.
7. Four separately wrapped, sterilised and triangular bandages.
8. Six (6) safety pins.

What the first aid box contains should be a reflection of the results of the organisation’s first aid needs appraisal. Ideally, tablets and other medicines should not be kept in the box.

How many first aiders does an organisation need?

There is no law in the United Kingdom that dictates the specific number of first aiders that organisations should have. To determine the number of people required, you must first evaluate the organisation’s first aid needs with regard to the applicable circumstances.

In case it is a site that consists of several buildings, people working in different shifts or other special circumstances, it may be necessary to increase the number of first aiders. It may also be necessary to enhance your provision to take care of cases of absence.

Do you need a first aider at work by law?

Generally, the number of first aiders or appointed persons required depends on the results of your workplace risk assessment, number of employees and nature of work as well.
In low-risk environments, there should be one or more appointed persons for up to twenty-five people, one or more FAW trained personnel per a hundred people and one or more EFAW trained personnel per fifty people.
In high-risk environments, there should be a minimum of one appointed personnel for up to five employees, one or more FAW trained workers for fifty people and one or more EFAW trained worker for twenty five people.

What information do my employees need?

Employees ought to be informed of all the arrangements that have been put in place with regard to first aid provision. You can put up notices that provide information about who the first-aid workers are, how and where to find them, location of first aid box and who the appointed people are, among other pieces of information.
Special arrangements must be made to provide first aid info to people with language difficulties as well.


Do you need a first aider at work by law? At this point, you have undoubtedly obtained answers for this question. The information in this article is specifically aimed at managers and owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It is also useful to any other person tasked with the responsibility of providing first aid at the work place, the organisation’s size notwithstanding.


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