First Aid In The Workplace
Almost all workplaces are different from each other, but all carry the regulation that the employer is responsible, by law, to “make an assessment of first aid needs appropriate to the circumstances of each workplace”.
The regulation applies to all workplaces, even those that employ less than five staff, that adequate and appropriate facilities are in place should any worker have an accident or fall ill whilst in the place of work.
The minimum requirements for any workplace are that a clearly identified and appropriately stocked first aid box be onsite, and that there is an “appointed person”, in charge of first aid arrangements.
An “appointed person” does not necessarily need to have approved training, but will be in charge if a co-worker should fall ill or suffer an accident whilst at work.
They are to keep the first aid box restocked if necessary, keep records of treatments given, and calling an ambulance should one be needed.
The level of first aiding obviously depends on the nature of the work undertaken and the number of people engaged in working there. The HSE provides some guidance as to the number or type of first aider, but of course, cannot be site specific.
In low risk environments such as offices, an appointed person will suffice for less than fifty workers, more, and at least one first aider, with at least one first aider per one hundred workers.
In medium risk areas such as warehouses, food processing plants etc. less than twenty, an appointed person, between twenty and one hundred, a first aider, and one per subsequent hundred,
For higher risk environments such as construction, or working with potentially dangerous machinery, fewer than five, one appointed person, five to fifty workers, at least one first aider, and one per subsequent fifty.
A first aider is someone who has been trained to be competent in giving first aid in the type of environment in which they work.
This is certified and is a mandatory three-day course, with a one day option available for smaller businesses. A two-day refresher and requalification course must attended every third year.
It may be that protective clothing or equipment may be required by the first aider to access parts of the workplace. These should be stored close to the first aid box, which itself should be prominently in view and marked with a red, white, or green cross.
Decisions on the content of the first aid box should be based on the employers assessment of the first aid needs.