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Legislatively Required First-Aiders and Their Training

Legislatively Required First-Aiders and Their Training

Maybe your business is trying to cope with inflation, so first-aiders and their training have taken a back seat. Perhaps your first-aiders’ requalification was thrown off schedule because of the Covid lock down. Whatever the case, the law is a tough task master that requires an employer to meet certain requirements.  When times are hard and money tight, don’t ignore what you’re required to provide.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 apply to all workplaces, including those with fewer than five employees. Employers are legally required to determine how many first-aiders are needed and what training they must have. Regulation 3(2) states:

“…an employer shall provide, or ensure that there is provided, such number of suitable persons as is adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for rendering first-aid to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work; and for this purpose a person shall not be suitable unless he has undergone such training and has such qualifications as may be appropriate in the circumstances of that case.1


The Guidance on this regulation makes it clear that an employer must conduct a needs assessment to determine the adequate number of first-aiders and the appropriate training. The following is stated In paragraph 6 of the Guidance on Regulation 3:

Typically, first-aiders will hold a valid certificate of competence in either first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW). EFAW training enables a first-aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. FAW training includes EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses (see paragraphs 52–73).2


Now is the time to review your compliance with your first-aid needs assessment and that you have the appropriate number of first-aiders who are getting their required training. Because while there is “nice to have” training you might want to provide to your employees, there is also “must have” training that the government requires. Keep in mind, too, that you may need to update your first-aid needs assessment, particularly if you have had operational changes.3


Stewart First Aid Training can help with your training needs. See the courses offered and download “Choosing the Right First Aid Course” guide here.


Sources :

1, page 7.

2, page 8.

3, page 16, Guidance paragraph 30.

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