First aid

The aim of first aid is to preserve life and to reduce the effects of injury or illness suffered at work. Employers should assess the first aid requirements within their workplace, appoint competent personnel, and provide equipment and facilities to enable first aid to be given to their employees if they are injured or become ill at work.

To assess the first aid requirements within each workplace, the employer should consider:
• the hazards and risks in the workplace;
• how many people are located in their premises;
• previous accident / incident history;
• the nature and distribution of the workforce;
• the remoteness of the workplace in relation to emergency medical services;
• the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers;
• employees working on shared or multi-occupancy sites; and
• annual leave and other absences of first aiders and appointed persons.

The UK’s Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 place a duty upon the employer to inform all its employees of the arrangements made in connection with first aid. HSE guidance suggests the setting-up of a procedure for informing staff that would include the details of the first aid provision and how employees are told of the location, equipment, facilities and personnel. It also suggests the provision of notices that are clear and easily understood to relay all or some of the information. Finally, it suggests that first aid information is included in induction training to ensure all new employees are aware.