No matter what steps you have taken to ensure you have a safe workplace, there may be times when your employees are injured or fall ill. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require provide ‘adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work’.
These regulations apply even if you have fewer than five employees or if you are self-employed. As a minimum, you need a basic first aid kit and a designated first aid officer. You will also need to make sure any employees are aware of your first aid arrangements in the event that they need them.
You can find out more with the Red Cross guide to First Aid for Employers. https://www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk/Courses/First-aid-legal-requirements.aspx
Whilst First Aid arrangements are very much dependent your individual working environment, here are five of the key considerations to help you establish the right first aid strategy for your organisation.
1. The nature of your workplace
You may be in a smaller office workplace with relatively low level hazards where the minimum provision would offer the right level of support for you. However, if you work in an environment with unusual circumstances and factors at play, for example working with chemicals or in very physically demanding jobs such as tree surgery or construction, then take time to carry out a proper risk assessment and think about the types of accidents that occur. In these cases it is likely that you will need trained first aiders. The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) has some useful case studies of different work environments, ranging from shops to construction sites and chemical processing plants to help you do this. It also has some useful risk templates to aid you in carrying out the assessment.
2. Get feedback from employees
Having regular health and safety conversations with your staff is good for two reasons. First, employee feedback can help with reducing the likelihood of accidents at work , but it can also mean you are better prepared in terms of First Aid provision. As an employer, you are responsible for making sure you have adequate and appropriate provision, but by including employee feedback in your First Aid strategy assessment, you will gain a different perspective of other provisions that need to be factored into your First Aid strategy.
3. First Aid Provision and work absences
When an employer's first-aid needs assessment indicates that a first-aider is unnecessary, the minimum requirement is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. When you decide on your appointed first aid person, you will need to think about working patterns and other absences. This person will need to take charge of first aid arrangements and potentially call the emergency services if required. They do not need to have formal first aid training but they do need to make sure that there is appropriate cover for first-aid arrangements irrespective of the working patterns of other employees. You will also need to ensure that anyone visiting your premises or site is prot