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First Aid Legal Requirements

As an employer, you have a legal responsibility of care for all employees, visitors and guests at your workplace. It is vital that you understand what the requirements are at any given time and how to ensure you stay compliant. There are endless streams of information available online that can guide you through this but here at Lasting Impressions, we understand that your time is important. So, in this guide, we’ll lead you through your First Aid legal requirements, breaking everything down into easily understood blocks.

First Aid at Work – The First Aid and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

The above regulation is one of the key documents set out for employers. It states what you need to do when addressing the first aid requirements of a business. This spreads from appointing relevant first aiders through to making everyone aware of procedures and where certain regulations do not apply. This document can be read in full here. However we will break this all down in more detail below.

What is expected of me?

In simple terms, every employer must ensure that injured or employees that are taken ill at work receive immediate professional attention. Whether the injury or illness is caused by the working environment is irrelevant. The key point here is immediate attention must be made available and an ambulance must be called in serious cases.

Organisations including the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. Therefore, businesses who do not provide the provisions for first aid in their workplace can face prosecution is significant risk is identified.

What am I required to provide?

Every workplace needs to meet specific requirements in terms of resources when it comes to first aid. These include:

  • Supplying appropriate and adequate first aid equipment for the environment.
  • Supplying appropriate and adequate first aid facilities for the environment.
  • Ensuring fully trained personnel to deal with first aid incidents.
  • Trained cover where the appointed personnel is unavailable.

It is worth noting that the requirements set out in this regulation apply to all businesses. This covers those with less than 5 employees and even the self-employed. It is important that, in all working environments, provisions are kept on hand to deal with incidents to prevent further injury, accident or death.

What first aid resources does my business need?

The specific resources required by each workplace vary based on a number of different variables. These include factors such as number of employees and the size of the working environment. It is important that you understand the risk places on employees for your specific building. Some businesses may simply require a first aid box and an appointed individual to maintain this. Others may have need for dedicated first aid rooms to deal with high-traffic incidents and need to ensure that this is accessible by stretchers and other equipment. In order to determine where your business falls in this category, it is important that you carry out a thorough and regularly updated risk assessment.

First Aid risk assessment explained

A risk assessment is vital for all working environments, regardless of size or number of employees. The aim here is to reduce the risk of injury and illness that an individual will suffer at work. A risk assessment should cover all potential incidents, with considerations taken into accidents that may happen in and outside of work. When carried out appropriately, it will help you to determine what first aid resources are required.

The two key things that your business should be able to do with the first aid resources available is:

  • Give immediate assistance to individuals with common illnesses or injuries, specifically those linked to hazards in the workplace.
  • Have the ability to call professional help, including ambulances to the scene.

A comprehensive risk assessment will highlight whether you need specific first aid equipment and facilities. These can include:

  • Trained first aiders
  • First aid boxes
  • First aid rooms
  • How much first aid provisions are needed.

During a risk assessment, you should take an unbiased look at the working environment and building from which your company operates. This should be done regularly to ensure it is kept up to date with changes. As an employer, you will need to consider:

  • Low-level (office based) and high-level (chemical/machinery) hazards around the workplace.
  • Your organization’s history of accidents.
  • The skill set and experience of employees.
  • The number of employees and the size of your business.
  • The distribution of your workforce.
  • The remote location or accessibility of your building.
  • Whether your site can be accessed by the general public.

This list is not exhaustive and should be adapted to suit your workplace. The information gained will help you to determine what is required for your individual situation.

What is considered a hazard?

When it comes to work environments, a hazard is any environment that poses a threat of injury or accident to your employees. These can include things such as:

  • Machinery
  • The degree of manual handling
  • Slip and trip hazards
  • Working at height
  • Workplace transport

What are the required first aid supplies for my business?

As stated above, the exact first aid resources needed varies depending on the size of your business. However, there are some guidelines that you can follow. When it comes to first aid kits in the workplace, they should include:

  • A leaflet giving general first aid guidance.
  • Small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings (individually wrapped).
  • Triangular bandages (individually wrapped)
  • Safety pins
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Eye wash
  • Plasters
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Disposable gloves
  • Burns appropriate dressings
  • Scissors

All of these items should be checked regularly and replaced as required.

Other first aid supplies that could come in handy, depending on your environment, include foil blankets, haemostatic dressings, tourniquets, disposable aprons and even sterile water in sealed bottles. The exact requirements, as mentioned above, will become evident after a risk assessment.

First Aid Signs

It is vital that, along with ensuring you have the right facilities for first aid, you also ensure they are easily located. In the event of an accident, it is important that professionals and employees alike can identify the location of the nearest first aid box or the route to the first aid room. This is where the right signage comes into place – specifically first aid options.

According to The First Aid and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, all first aid boxes should be adorned with:

‘A white cross on a green background’

This is the universally accepted sign for first aid and allows individuals to quickly identify where the relevant resources are kept. Options such as our First Aid Portrait and First Aid Sign are both suitable for a range of working environments and help ensure compliance with your in-set procedures. There are also First Aid Room Signs that helps identify where an injured individual may be, should professional help be sent for.

AED Signs

During your risk assessment, you will have established whether there is a need for an AED emergency defibrillator in your workplace. At this date, there is no law that requires workplaces to provide this. However, many environments that deal with members of the public or high-traffic visitors will do well to consider their installation to minimise further risk.

AED Signs are designed to show location and direct trained personnel towards these lifesaving machines. They come in a range of different designs, always following the green and white design requirements and featuring legible logos. In addition, our Trained AED Users and Location Sign provides additional information, quickly directing members of the public towards these trained individuals.

The Health and Safety Law Poster

When looking at first aid signs, one that cannot be overlooked is the Health and Safety Law Poster. A legal requirement for all businesses that employ people, this poster MUST be displayed in a prominent location in your workplace. It provides information about employee and employer legal rights when it comes to first aid in the workplace. In offering up this information freely, it actively minimises the risk of injury and accidents – a key way to reduce the need for first aid activity..

The Health and Safety Law Poster can be purchased here at Lasting Impressions.

What are the next steps?

As an employer, it is vital you understand first aid law to ensure your business is compliant. Our guide provides key information into this. However, you can read The First Aid and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 in full via the link here. There is also a wealth of information available on the HSE’s main website which is there to help prevent the risk of work-related injury, illness and death.

Alternatively, if your query relates to first aid signs and the ways in which signage can minimise the risk of hazards in your workplace, get in touch with Lasting Impressions today. We have a wealth of knowledge, built over many years, and can help guide you towards the most appropriate sign to keep your business legally compliant.