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First Aid Training Regulation Changes

FAQ for Employers

Following a recent government review, the regulations that govern First Aid Training have now changed.

To help guide employers through these changes, we have compiled a summary of some of the frequently asked questions:

What’s changed?

  • On 1st October 2013 the HSE approval of first aid training providers ended, meaning that the responsibility for ensuring workplace first aid training is of an acceptable standard has moved from the HSE to the employer.

  • Ofqual / SQA regulated qualifications are now the only option for meeting first aid training standards that does not require the employer to undertake on-going due diligence checks.
  • Training providers can no longer display a HSE approval number on their certificates. From now on, the only way to guarantee that the training meets the standards is for the certificate to include the Ofqual logo.

What should I do now?

  • Peers & Rooney Training only delivers the regulated First Aid at Work & Emergency First Aid at Work qualifications, which are accredited through Qualsafe Awards (a leading Awarding Organisation recognised by Ofqual). This means that if you book with First on Scene you will not have to undertake any due diligence checks and you can rest assured that you have fulfilled your legal responsibilities for providing quality first aid training.

Has the course content changed?

  • No, the course content is still defined by the HSE and will not change.

Does it cost more?

  • Absolutely not. We are passionate about maintaining our highly competitive prices and as such we have decided not to pass on the cost of learner registration fees to our customers.

Peers & Rooney Training Limited are delighted to announce that we are now delivering the new Qualsafe Awards regulated courses,  outstanding reputation, standards and quality hence our choice with QSA.

First aid box

Q. What should a first aid box in the workplace contain? Click for Answer

A. There is no mandatory list of contents for first aid boxes. Deciding what to include should be based on the employer’s assessment of first aid needs. Equivalent but different items will be considered acceptable. Any items in the first aid box that have passed their expiry date should be disposed of safely.

In general, tablets and medication should not be kept in the first aid box.

A suggested list of contents for traveling first aid kits is included in the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance: First aid at work. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 L74[

Q. How often should the contents of first aid boxes be replaced? Click for Answer

A. Although there is no specified review timetable, many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with 'best before dates'. Such items should be replaced by the dates given. In cases where sterile items have no dates, it would be advisable to check with the manufacturers to find out how long they can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, it is a matter of judgement, based on whether they are fit for purpose.

First aid equipment

Q. What first aid equipment should be provided? Click for Answer

A. Once an assessment of first aid needs has been carried out, the findings can be used to decide what first aid equipment should be provided in the workplace. The minimum level of first aid equipment is a suitably stocked first aid box. The assessment may indicate that additional materials and equipment are required such as scissors, adhesive tape, disposable aprons and individually wrapped moist wipes. They may be put in the first aid container if there is room or stored separately.

There may be a need for items such as protective equipment where first aiders may have to enter dangerous atmospheres. This should be securely stored near the first aid box, in the first aid room or the hazard area, as appropriate. Access to the equipment should be restricted to those trained in its use.
If mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, at least one litre of sterile water or sterile normal saline (0.9%) in sealed, disposable containers should be provided. When the seal has been broken, the container should not be reused. The container should not be used beyond its expiry date.

First aid for the public

Q. Do I need to make first aid provision for members of the public? Click for Answer

A. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 do not oblige employers to provide first aid for members of the public. However, many organisations provide a service for others, for example places of entertainment, fairgrounds and shops, and HSE strongly recommends that employers include the public and others on their premises when making their assessment of first aid needs.

Q. Do the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 cover large events such as concerts?Click for Answer

A. Only in so far as employers are responsible for providing first aid for their employees. At an event, for example a pop concert, it is the organiser’s responsibility to ensure that there is adequate first aid provision. HSE has produced guidance.

First aid for traveling, remote and lone workers

Q. I have employees who travel regularly or work elsewhere, what should I do about first aid provision for them? Click for Answer

A. Employers are responsible for meeting the first aid needs of their employees working away from the main site. Employers’ assessment of first aid needs should determine whether:
  • those who travel long distances or are continuously mobile should carry a personal first aid box;
  • special arrangements need to be made for employees who work in remote areas; and
  • to provide other means of summoning help, such as a mobile phone, for employees who work alone.

First aid in schools

Q. How do the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 relate to first aid provision in schools? Click for Answer

A. Employers are responsible for the provision of appropriate first aid equipment and facilities and trained first aiders in respect of their employees – this includes schools, as they are workplaces. However, the Regulations do not oblige employers to provide first aid for anyone else. Nevertheless, HSE strongly encourages employers to consider others when carrying out their assessment of first aid needs and to make provision for them.

First aid rooms

Q. Do I need to provide a room for first aid? Click for Answer

A. You should provide a suitable first aid room or rooms where your assessment of first aid needs identifies this as necessary.
What should be kept in the first aid room?
The room should contain essential first aid facilities and equipment. Typical examples of these are:
  • a sink with hot and cold running water;
  • drinking water and disposable cups;
  • soap and paper towels;
  • a store for first aid materials;
  • foot-operated refuse containers, lined with disposable yellow clinical waste bags or a container for the safe disposal of clinical waste;
  • a couch with waterproof protection, clean pillows and blankets;
  • a chair;
  • a telephone or other communication equipment;
  • a record book for recording incidents where first aid has been given.

Q. Who should have access to the first aid room? Click for Answer

A. If possible, the room should be reserved specifically for providing first aid and your designated person (first aider or appointed person) should be given responsibility for the room. It should be easily accessible to stretchers and be clearly signposted and identified

First aid signs

Q. What signs should I have? Click for Answer

A. All first aid boxes must have a white cross on a green background. Similarly, first aid rooms should be easily identifiable by white lettering or a white cross on a green background.

Q. Where should I put them? Click for Answer

A. The signs should be placed where they can be seen (not obstructed from view) and easily identified.

First aiders

Q. How many first aiders do I need? Click for Answer

A. There is no definitive answer. It will largely depend on the outcome of your assessment of first aid needs.

Q. Can legal action be taken against first aiders? Click for Answer

It is very unlikely that any action would be taken against a first aider who was using the first aid training they have received. HSE cannot give any specific advice on this issue as it has no expertise in this area and it does not fall within HSE’s statutory powers.

It is recommended that you seek legal advice, or advice from your employer’s insurance brokers on whether their policies cover first aiders’ liability.

Q. Does my employee need to do any training to be a first aider? Click for Answer

Yes. If you have identified that your workplace needs first aiders, they must have completed a first aid at work course provided by an HSE approved training organisation.


Q. When dealing with a casualty, how can the risk of cross infection be minimised? Click for Answer

First aiders should have a reasonable understanding of the importance of personal hygiene in first aid procedures. This will help to prevent cross infection between the first aider and casualty.

Particular concerns have been raised about the possibility of first aiders becoming infected by a blood-borne virus (including HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus) while performing first aid. All courses will give direction and guidance on how to prevent infection and cross contamination.

Q. Can an individual with a blood-borne virus (HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus) become a first aider in the workplace? Click for Answer

An individual with a blood-borne virus (BBV) can be considered for the role of first aider providing that:
  • they are under regular medical supervision;
  • they have sought and are following advice from their medical practitioner;
  • they understand the routes of occupational transmission of blood-borne diseases;
  • they practise cross infection precautions regularly.

Practising cross infection procedures should include those that can be taken by first aiders to reduce the risk of cross infection when actually administering first aid.
Generally, there is no legal obligation on employees to disclose they have a BBV. If an employee is known to have a BBV, this information is strictly confidential and must not be passed on to anyone else without the employee’s permission. Where an employer is aware that an employee has a BBV, they can take this into account if assessing their suitability as a first aider.

Record keeping

Q. Do I need to record incidents requiring the attention of a first aider? Click for Answer

HSE recommends that it is good practice to provide your first aiders/ appointed persons with a book in which to record incidents that required their attendance. The information kept can help you identify accident trends and possible areas for improvement in the control of health and safety risks. It can also be used for reference in future first aid needs assessments. This record book is not the same as the statutory accident book though the two could be combined.

There is a legal requirement to report accidents and ill health at work. Information on the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 will also be taught on the course

Q. What information should be recorded? Click for Answer

Useful information to record might include:
  • date, time and place of incident;
  • name and job of the injured or ill person;
  • details of the injury/illness and what first aid was given;
  • what happened to the person immediately afterwards (for example went home, went back to work, went to hospital);
  • name and signature of the first aider or person dealing with the incident.

Q. Who is responsible for keeping the records? Click for Answer

It is usually the first aider or appointed person who looks after the book. However, employers have overall responsibility.

Tablets and medication

Q. Are first aiders allowed to give tablets and medication to casualties? Click for Answer

HSE guidance in the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance: First aid at work. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 L74[12], states that first aid at work does not include giving tablets or medication to treat illness and such items should not be kept in the first aid box. However, strictly speaking, there is no legal bar to employers making such items available to employees, if the assessment of first aid needs indicates they should be provided. HSE has no objection to paracetamol or aspirin being made available in the workplace. First aiders administering these tablets should have a reasonable understanding of what is involved.

HSE has no objection to employers providing vending machines for dispensing paracetamol. It is preferable that these machines are not located in areas where the public will have access to them.

Some workers carry their own medication such as inhalers for asthma or ‘Epipens’ which contain injectable adrenaline for the treatment of severe allergic (anaphylactic) reactions, for example to peanuts. These medications are prescribed by a doctor. If an individual needs to take their own prescribed medication, the first aider’s role is limited to helping them do so and contacting the emergency services as appropriate.

Medicines legislation restricts the administration of injectable medicines. Unless self administered, they may only be administered by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor (eg by a nurse). However, in the case of adrenaline there is an exemption to this restriction which means in an emergency, a suitably trained lay person is permitted to administer it by injection for the purpose of saving life. The use of an Epipen to treat anaphylactic shock falls into this category. Therefore, first aiders may administer an Epipen if they are dealing with a life threatening emergency in a casualty who has been prescribed and is in possession of an Epipen and where the first aider is trained to use it.