Things you need to know about first aid legal requirements

Ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals is a top priority in any setting, and legal requirements play a crucial role in achieving this goal. When it comes to ensuring the safety of employees and complying with regulations, understanding the first aid legal requirements is vital.

Organizations have a duty to provide adequate first aid coverage and response in the workplace. In this article, we will delve into the key regulations and acts that govern first aid at work, highlighting the importance of meeting these requirements to protect employees and create a safe working environment.

What is first aid?

It’s inevitable that people will suffer injuries or become ill at work, whether work related or not.

If this happens then, as an employer, it is your responsibility to tend to them straight away and, if necessary, ring for an ambulance if the injury of illness is serious enough. By doing this effectively, you can prevent a minor injury becoming a major one and even save a life.

First Aid at Work depicted in an infographics

Image Source: Freepik

 What are my responsibilities?

To ensure that your employees can be given immediate treatment if an incident should arise, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 makes sure that adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and people are available.

The type of workplace that you run dictates what equipment you require. For example, a commercial kitchen requires different equipment from an office. Having said that, there is a minimum that you will be required to have. These are:

  • A first-aid kit
  • An appointed first-aider
  • Information about first-aid that employees can easily access

Due to the nature of accidents and illness, first aid equipment has to be available all the times.

The legal duties of an employer

If your employees become injured or ill at work then you are obliged, by the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and first aiders to make sure that your employees receive immediate attention.

Even workplaces that have less than five employees and also those that are self-employed have to abide by these regulations.

As mentioned before, the situations in the workplace dictate what is adequate and appropriate.

Occasionally, the organization may not require trained first-aiders, and the contents of the first-aid box will also vary.

Additionally, a first-aid room is not always required. As an employer, you should assess the first-aid requirements and act accordingly to determine what is needed.

Additionally, if your workplace has visits from the general public, the HSE suggests that you should consider them in your assessment. However, the regulations state that you are not accountable for them.

First Aid in Schools Legal Requirements

The rules for first aid in schools vary depending on the country or state. In the United Kingdom, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sets the basic standards for first aid in schools. These standards say that schools must have:

  1. A good first aid kit with the right things inside.
  2. At least one person who has finished a full first aid course for the workplace.
  3. Information for staff and students about where to find the first aid kit and who the first aiders are.

The HSE also suggests that schools make a plan for first aid. This plan would explain what to do when accidents happen and should be looked at often to keep it up to date.

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the basic rules for first aid in schools. These rules say that schools must have:

  1. A first aid kit that everyone can get to.
  2. At least one person who has finished a first aid course approved by OSHA.
  3. Information for staff and students about where to find the first aid kit and who the first aiders are.

OSHA also suggests that schools make a written plan for first aid. This plan would have steps for dealing with different accidents and injuries and info on how to call for emergency help.

The rules for first aid in schools are there to keep students and staff safe and healthy. By making sure schools have enough first aid, they can lower the chances of bad accidents and injuries.

Legal Requirements for First Aid in Schools:

In the United Kingdom, the legal requirements for first aid provision in schools are governed by several acts and regulations, including:

  1. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: This act places a duty on schools to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their students, staff, and visitors. It requires schools to provide adequate first aid arrangements.

  2. The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999: These regulations specify that schools must have suitable and sufficient facilities for the welfare of students, including provisions for first aid.

  3. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981: These regulations set out the requirements for first aid provision in the workplace, including schools. They require schools to have appropriate first aid arrangements, including trained personnel, first aid equipment, and access to emergency medical services.

  4. The Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations 2014: These regulations apply to independent schools in England and outline specific requirements for first aid provision, including the qualifications and training of staff members responsible for first aid.

  5. The Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011: These regulations apply to non-maintained special schools in England and include provisions related to first aid provision.

These acts and regulations provide a legal framework to ensure that schools have appropriate first aid arrangements in place to safeguard the well-being of students and staff. It is important for schools to know the specific rules in their area and follow them to make sure they are doing the right thing.

Legal Requirements for First Aid at Public Events

When organizing public events, it is crucial to understand the legal requirements surrounding first aid provision, as they vary across different countries and states. In the United Kingdom, while the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not impose specific legal requirements for first aid at public events, they strongly recommend that event organizers conduct thorough risk assessments and provide adequate first aid cover tailored to those risks. This includes essential measures such as:

  1. Equipping the event with comprehensive first aid kits readily available on-site.
  2. Enlisting trained first aiders who can promptly respond to any medical emergencies.
  3. Establishing a clear plan outlining protocols for handling accidents and injuries swiftly and effectively.
  4. Familiarizing oneself with emergency service contacts and ensuring easy access to their assistance.

Event organizers have a duty of care to ensure guest safety and protection from harm. First aid coverage with trained personnel reduces risks and addresses accidents effectively.

To further enhance the provision of first aid at public events, here are additional noteworthy tips for event organizers:

  1. Strategically place easily accessible first aid kits that are appropriately stocked with essential equipment and supplies.
  2. Conduct comprehensive training for first aiders, equipping them with the skills necessary to handle common medical emergencies confidently.
  3. Establish effective communication channels with emergency services to swiftly summon their assistance, if needed.
  4. Foster a culture of safety among event attendees by encouraging them to promptly report any accidents or injuries to a first aider or event staff member.

By adhering to these recommendations, event organizers create an environment that prioritizes safety, thereby ensuring that attendees can enjoy their experience with peace of mind.


The assessment of first-aid legal requirements

As mentioned above, as an employer it is your duty to carry out an assessment of first-aid legal requirements. Considerations include:

  • The type of business
  • Hazards and risks,
  • The size of your workplace (both spatial and number of employees)
  • There may be additional factors depending on your workplace

There are many people who are self-employed and do not have to think about other staff. You should still carry out an assessment to determine what equipment you may need to carry out first aid on yourself, even if it is just a standard first aid kit.

First aid legal requirements for offshore work

Due to inaccessibility and complications related to care, there is specific legislation for the offshore industries. This falls into the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989. The person in charge is responsible for arranging medical and first aid facilities, capable first-aiders, and medics that are required in this case.

To determine the required number of medics and first-aiders, you will need to conduct another assessment. The employer should consider the amount and type of equipment needed as well as any visitors and contractors who may be present.

Arrange an onshore medical practitioner to supervise the offshore medic. The sick bay should have the correct facilities and also be able to accommodate a patient for up to 48hours.

First aid legal requirements for diving

The Diving at Work Regulations 1997, require the diving contractor to provide first-aid equipment throughout a diving project. The diving supervisor is in control if an incident should arise.

Content of a first-aid box

Although there isn’t a compulsory list of items to include in a first-aid box, there is a recommended amount to include. These are:

  • A first aid leaflet
  • Sterile plasters
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Triangular bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Large and medium sterile, wound dressings
  • Disposable gloves

You should not keep drugs and medicines in your first aid box. The list above is just a suggestion; your contents may be different depending on your line of work.

Selecting a competent training provider

There are many first aid training providers including those who offer nationally recognised and regulated qualifications in FAW and EFAW.

St John Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid are examples of voluntary aid societies. There are also those who operate under voluntary accreditation schemes as well as those who operate independently.

It is your responsibility, as the employer, to select an appropriate training provider and ensure they are up to standard. The training provider should be competent to deliver first-aid training, have qualified trainers, teach relevant course content correctly and have the required quality assurance systems in place. We regularly review them to ensure that we teach up-to-date information.

Emergency First Aid at Work Training – Level 3 Award

What does your course consist of?

Here at Caring for Care, we offer you the best possible First Aid training courses. For your convenience, we can deliver them at your premises at a time that suits you, saving you time and money.

This makes it easy for you to gain top class first aid training and be able to meets current health and safety legislation.

Our trainers are fully qualified and accredited. We regularly review them to ensure that we teach up-to-date information.

They will also bring everything they require to you. All you have to supply is a room.

Our trainers provide

  • Overhead projector, screen, flip charts and other learning aids
  • CPR manikins (one manikin to every four delegates)
  • Sufficient dressings/bandages for the practical sessions
  • Free first aid manual for each delegate

First aid e-learning course

If you already have a First Aid at Work certificate but are looking for an annual refresher to keep your knowledge fresh and up to date, then this Emergency First Aid at Work Refresher e-Learning course is perfect for you. You can also check out our general First Aid Online Training

It will highlight and provide knowledge for a number of common Emergency First Aid situations and help you to understand the correct course of action in the event of shock, bleeding, choking as well as teaching the principles of CPR and how to use AEDs.

For more information on our First Aid training courses please do not hesitate to get in touch, either via email or over the phone on 01782 563333.


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