As a minimum, a low-risk workplace such as a small office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, such as calling the emergency services if necessary. Employers must provide information about first-aid arrangements to their employees.
Workplaces where there are more significant health and safety risks are more likely to need a trained first-aider. A first-aid needs assessment will help employers decide what first aid arrangements are appropriate for their workplace.
First Aid Needs Assessment
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) cannot tell you what provision you should make for first aid. You, as an employer, are best placed to understand the exact nature of your workplace and decide what you need to provide.
First aid provision must be ‘adequate and appropriate in the circumstances’. This means that you must provide sufficient first aid equipment (first aid kit), facilities and personnel at all times.
In order to decide what provision you need to make you should undertake a first-aid needs assessment. This assessment should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the hazards and risks that may be present. The findings will help you decide what first-aid arrangements you need to put in place.
In assessing your first-aid needs, you should consider:
- the nature of the work you do
- workplace hazards and risks (including specific hazards requiring special arrangements)
- the nature and size of your workforce
- the work patterns of your staff
- holiday and other absences of those who will be first-aiders and appointed persons
- your organisation’s history of accidents
You may also need to consider:
- the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
- the distribution of your workforce
- the remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
- whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
- first-aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public).
You do not need to record the findings of your needs assessment, but you may find it useful to do so, as it will demonstrate how you have decided on the first-aid provision that you make.
The minimum requirement in terms of personnel is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The roles of this appointed person include looking after the first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. The appointed person can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances. An appointed person is not required to have any formal training.
If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.
There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers, and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace.
If you require further advice and guidance on your own first aid requirements then please get in touch with us via email, calling +44 (0)1248 603 012 or using any of the details on our Contact page