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First aid legal requirements

First aid legal requirements

First aid law and the legalities around first aid at work can be confusing. As a trusted provider of first aid courses, we’re here to help.

Employer responsibilities

Employers are legally required to arrange for the immediate care of any staff who have an accident or become ill while they are at work.

You must:

  • Assess your first aid needs based on the hazards and risks involved in your workplace.
  • Provide appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill staff.

First aid law

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state that employers should provide adequate and appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill staff.

The regulations only cover first aid arrangements for employees, but businesses that deal with members of the public (such as shops) should also consider this in their needs assessment.

If you’re self-employed, you should make appropriate first aid arrangements for your working environment (even if you work from home). If you work on a site with other self-employed people, you are each responsible for making your own first aid arrangements but may choose to make joint arrangements, subject to written agreement.

Health and Safety Executive guidance on first aid at work regulations is available on the HSE website.

Needs assessment

You should assess your first aid needs based on the hazards and risks in your workplace, to help you determine how many first aiders you need and what training they should have.

What should a needs assessment consider?

  • The size of your organisation – how many trained people do you need?
  • The nature of your work – do you have specific accidents or injuries to consider?
  • If you have multiple sites – are there different hazards, and how can a first aider move between them?
  • Do you have staff with medical conditions – do you need specific training for these?
  • Do staff travel, work alone or remotely – do they need a mobile phone and travel first aid kit in case of emergency?

The HSE no longer approve first aid training and qualifications, so employers are free to choose their own first aid training provider. You must ensure the quality of training provider you choose.

HSE still provide the general syllabus for first aid courses. This ensures a high quality of first aid training.

The HSE also provides a checklist to help employers evaluate a first aid training provider. Click here to download this checklist.