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First aid at Work – What are the requirements?

People at work can suffer injuries or be taken ill at any time, whether it was caused by the work they do or not. Regardless of the cause it is important you are ready and prepared to give them the immediate attention required to prevent it turning into anything more serious.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities, and people, so that immediate help can be given. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and the self-employed. By carrying out an assessment of what your specific business first aid needs are you will be able to decide what exactly is ‘adequate and appropriate’ for your circumstances. The minimum first-aid provision for any business, no matter what size, is:

  • a suitably stocked first-aid kit

  • designated first aiders or an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements

  • information for employees about the first-aid arrangements you have in place

There is no mandatory list of items to put in a first-aid box. It depends on what you assess your needs to be. As a guide, for a low risk setting, a minimum stock of first-aid items would be: a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid, individually wrapped sterile plasters, sterile eye pads, individually wrapped triangular bandages, safety pins; large wound dressings; medium-sized unmedicated wound dressings and disposable gloves. The HSE have got a comprehensive set of guidance to help you with this process.

If your assessment identifies that a trained first-aider is not required in your workplace, you should instead appoint someone to take charge of first-aid arrangements. It is important that there is always someone available to take control of any arrangements, and this is the minimum legal requirement.

Finally, you must inform your employees of the arrangements you have put in place. Putting up notices telling everyone who the appointed persons are, and where the first-aid box is, is often sufficient but again it depends on your assessment and the level of risk.

If you need any help ensuring you have met the minimum legal requirements, or are concerned you may have overlooked something in your assessment, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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