First aid at work is a vital and incredibly important part of your company’s health and safety practices. Whilst trained first aiders hope never to have to put their skills to use. It is still essential that they are in place and able to react should a minor injury or emergency happen within working hours.
It can be confusing, knowing what is the necessary first aid cover, and whether you have the right numbers. So, we thought we'd step in and try and offer you a little help and put your mind at rest.
First Aid Regulations
Under the Health and Safety Regulations Act (1981), employers are required to provide:
'adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.'
We know what you're thinking, 'adequate’ is a little vague. This gives you no actual number to follow or adhere to, making sure you are compliant with the law. Therefore, in order to ensure your company has an adequate number of first aiders within your organisation, a first aid risk assessment is necessary.
First Aid Risk Assessment
Don't worry, this doesn't have to be a distressing thought, and it isn't as challenging as it sounds. The sole purpose of the assessment is to consider the nature of your workplace and the risks and hazards present. This will then allow you to prove to the relevant authorities that research has been completed. Showing you have assessed what you need and have records to this effect. These records can then be saved and presented to your local authority or HSE (Health and Safety Executive) if requested. In your assessment you need to consider the following points:
Is your company a high or low risk workplace?
High risk workplaces such as construction sites or engineering works will require first aiders with FAW (First Aid at Work) and EFAW (Emergency First Aid at Work) certification as the level of potential injury is likely to be higher than that of a low risk workplace.
- Size of your workforce?
It goes without saying that, the risk of injury or accident will obviously rise the more people are present. So, the bigger the workforce, the bigger the risk, the more cover you will need.
- Onsite and Offsite staff
If you have one site where all of your staff work, your risk assessment only needs to cover this site. However, if your company sends staff offsite, such as a building company working in different areas, this must be considered.
- Proximity to Emergency Services
How close are you to a hospital and how accessible are you to an ambulance? These must be considered as if you're remote, your first aiders will be crucial in the time before help arrives.
- Daily visitors to the company
First Aid regulations don't actually require you to provide treatment to visitors. However, if you do have a lot of individuals visiting each day it is advised that you are prepared should an accident occur.
- Holiday cover for first aiders
No matter how well you think you have prepared, there can always be a problem, especially when it comes to holidays. You need to make sure you're always prepared. What if you choose to only have two first aiders, and one of them goes on holiday and the other is sick - you're in trouble.
So, how many first aiders do you need?
Once you have completed your first aid risk assessment you will be in the best place to know exactly what your company needs thanks to the research completed.
HSE guidelines state that companies with 5-50 workers need to have one first aid trained member of staff. With an additional first aider for every 50 staff members. Even if you are part of a low risk company with 25-50 employees you should still have at least one first aider holding a EFAW certificate, then another for every additional 100 staff members.
These are simply guidelines, and it's down to you to make sure your employees are safe should an accident occur. First aid courses are now so readily available, that ensuring the safety of your employees is simpler than ever.
It would also be beneficial to have an appointed person within your company. Usually in the HR department or someone who can be found easily by anyone within the company. This individual doesn't necessarily have to be first aid trained themselves, but they will be the first point of contact in the event of an emergency/accident. They will also maintain the first aid equipment, call for an ambulance in an emergency and know which first aider is available each day. Obviously for larger companies, it would be worth having more than one appointed person.
If you would like more information about HSE (First-Aid) in the workplace, you can see the full regulations here. If you need any help finding the right equipment feel free to call us on 0161 902 3030 and we'll be happy to help.