Whether it is a construction site or office-based job, first aid is needed at most places of work.
Some working environments might seem like safe places, but there are various risks associated that you may be unaware of. First aid scenarios and life-threatening injuries can occur at any time, and when they certainly happen, who in the workplace will be able to help?
According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), up to 150,000 employees sustain injuries every year in the UK which could have been reduced with first aid treatment. There were more than 28.2 million lost workdays annually due to unintentional injuries of staff. This results in the absence from work for more than three days, leading to higher costs to businesses and the economy.
Though life-threatening injuries may not be particularly common within the workplace, still there are around 200,000 minor and major injuries in the UK that occur at work each year. If the staff members were trained to provide first aid assistance and treatment, you can potentially save a lot of time and money.
Every employer is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their valuable employees in the workplace who may be injured or become ill and the need to protect them with adequate first aid procedures. There is a wide range of reasons why first aid is needed at work for both employees and employers.
Having first aid trained employees on hand in all workplaces not only improves a company’s profitability but also increases your business reputation, productivity and helps meet legal requirements.
First Aid at Work - A Necessity
Whether employees work in a low-hazard or high-hazard environment, they face a lot of risks that can result in costly injuries.
Introducing first aid is an important and necessary step for employers. According to Healthy Working Lives, it is a legal requirement for a business to ensure that people who become ill or injure themselves at work receive immediate attention.
Whether the injury is related to the work environment, or it happens to a member of staff or the public (on work premises), lives can possibly be saved due to a trained first aider being on hand acting fast.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, a first aider is a person who is appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required.
Every first aider must do the appropriate training to the level identified in the company’s first aid needs assessment.
The different levels of first aid training include:
- First aid at work (FAW) - This is a three-day course that teaches the practical first aid skills to treat a wide range of injuries and medical conditions.
- Emergency first aid at work (EFAW) - This is a one-day course that covers common injuries and illnesses that may arise in the workplace.
- Additional training - Some workplaces have specific risks which require more detailed first aid training that is appropriate to the circumstances of your work environment.
To decide what level of first aid training is required for your workplace, below are certain things you need to consider:
- Does your workplace include low-level hazards or high-level hazards?
- What is the nature, work patterns, and size of your workforce?
- Do public members visit your premises?
- Is your business space spread out over several buildings or floors?
- Does your organisation have a history of accidents?
However, you can choose alternative training so long as it fits your first aid needs.
To know more about assessing your first aid needs, please check this first aid at work checklist from the Health and Safety Executive.
The Health and Safety (First Aid at Work) Regulations 1981
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (1981) states that equipment, facilities, and first aid personnel must be “adequate and appropriate” in the circumstances. However, what is considered “adequate and appropriate” is largely left up to individual employers.
First Aid Provisions: The HSE Guidance on Regulations
The HSE’s “First aid at work” Guidance on the Regulations can help employers determine the level of first aid provision required at the workplace. It includes the necessary things your first-aid kit must contain, whether you are required to provide a dedicated first-aid room and to what level of training your first-aid personnel should be qualified.
There are some organisations that only need to provide an appointed person. The organisations with 50+ employees will need to make sure that there are enough First Aiders at work. One per 100 employees in low-hazard workplaces and one per 50 employees in higher-hazard workplaces is recommended.
These first aid provisions need to apply no matter how big or small a business is; even to companies with less than five employees. In 2013 these regulations were updated, meaning that the HSE no longer provides training courses in first aid at work, neither do they approve external training or qualifications.
Although this gives employers more choice when it comes to choosing a first aid training provider. This means that there is more responsibility on businesses to ensure that the required standards of the training are met.
Choosing Trusted First Aid Training Provider
Companies will have to conduct a first aid needs assessment and, dependent on the outcome, make sure that proper first aid training is provided. It is the duty of an employer to choose a first aid training provider who can meet criteria provided by HSE and the principles of assessment for first aid qualifications.
These providers should be able to leave your chosen trained employees feeling confident in their first aid skills. Therefore, you need to pick a training provider you can trust.
Though enrolling your employees in first aid training courses brings up a cost but having well skilled and trained staff can help prevent injuries/accidents at the workplace.
This helps to provide immediate treatment to those injured. Thus, reducing the chances of further injury, employee absence, or even life-changing injuries or fatalities, which could also prevent you from legal action against your business.
As can be seen, staying compliant with your first aid at work requirements does not just help save lives and prevent unnecessary suffering but also has several benefits to businesses that should not be ignored.
Author Name – Simar Dhadli
As an Entrepreneur at Bright Learning Centre, I commonly write and talk about the importance of learning first aid skills, training, and qualifications for individuals and businesses to handle injuries/accidents quickly and efficiently.