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HSE First Aid at Work guideline amendments

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) are the national independent watchdog for any work-related health, injury and safety issues. Acting as an independent regulator in the public’s interest, attempting to put in place rules that companies must follow. The rules themselves are created to reduce any serious injuries or deaths in the workplace.

The HSE focuses on constant improvement, and as such they’re continuously amending their guidance laws to achieve their objectives. They've recently made amendments to the enforcement body advisory content. These amendments reflect the changes in working arrangements and industry best practice.

Injury at work

Blended Learning

A new approach to education which com

bines the traditional face to face classroom method with e-learning. Students are still required to attend standard formal classroom environments where a teacher or coach is present. This is then combined with online digital activities to continue learning.

This new approach of classroom training alongside digital platform integration is now an accepted method of first aid training delivery by the HSE.


AED Training

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are becoming more and more popular in many workplaces. The portable electronic device automatically diagnoses the hearts rhythm and can then send an electric shock to the heart. This shock attempts to address any irregularities and restore the heart to its normal rhythm. Defibrillators are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), where the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.

AED knowledge and correct use have now been added to First Aid at Work (FAW) and the Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) training courses.

Trauma Dressings

There has been an influx of trauma related products; bandages, dressings, tourniquets etc. into the medical market thanks to an increase in military research. The new wave of trauma products in the civilian market have become more popular due to the increase in large scale traumatic events and stabbings in the last couple of years.

Haemostatic dressings and tourniquets must now be considered within a company’s needs assessment. Each company should consider the circumstances of their workplace, workforce and possible hazards and risks. Therefore, training of these new blood clotting dressings must now be considered.

Training Approval Status

The fourth and final amendment to the HSE First Aid at Work Guidelines is an addition to a previous amendment made in 2013. To further clarify the ending of HSE’s approval of First Aid training providers.

What Should You Do?

These amendments, though few, could considerably affect your workplace First Aid process. It makes sense to firstly review how your First Aid training is delivered. Then consider whether a blended learning option might work better for you.

If your company has an AED on site, you may also want to check your policy for the training you’re providing in the use of defibrillators.

You should also review your companies First Aid needs, to see whether your needs assessment shows that haemostatic dressings or tourniquets for the treatment of traumatic bleeding injuries are required in your workplace. If so, are your First Aiders trained on the use of these products?

Finally, if you have a First Aid training service you are currently using, it would be in your best interest to check with them that these updates to the work guidance are included in the training they are providing to your staff.


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