Things you need to know about first aid legal requirements


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.


 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 trained first-aiders are not needed and, of course, the contents of a first-aid box will differ too.

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

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.


The assessment of first-aid requirements

As mentioned above, as an employer it is your duty to carry out an assessment of first-aid 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

Many people are self-employed and do not have other staff to think about. 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 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. In this case, medical and first aid facilities and capable first-aiders and medics are required and it is the person in charge who is responsible for arranging this.

Again, an assessment will be required to determine how many medics, first-aiders and the amount and type of equipment are needed and any visitors and contractors need to be taken into account.

An onshore medical practitioner needs to be arranged 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 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


Drugs and medicines should not be kept 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.


What does your course consist of?

Here at Caring for Care, we offer you the best possible First Aid training courses. For you 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 meets current health and safety legislation.

Our trainers are fully qualified and accredited. They are regularly reviewed to ensure what they teach is up to date.

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.

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.



Health & Safety Executive:

The Red Cross:


St Johns Ambulance: