The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 states that you must provide adequate and appropriate first aid coverage. So how many first-aiders are required for a workplace in the UK?
It depends and you’ll need specialist advice to be absolutely sure. The law is fairly vague and unspecific. So this article will provide an overview of some of the key things to consider.
While the terms ‘adequate’ and ‘appropriate’ can be interpreted differently and conveniently, how many first aiders are required in a workplace does depend on the type of workplace, number of workers, types of known risks and hazards and specific contingent liabilities.
How many first-aiders do I need?
While no typical or clearly defined legal requirement is specified for the mandatory number of trained first-aiders required at any workplace in the UK, it is common practice to have at least one trained first-aider per one hundred workers.
There should be at least one first aider available at all times, so you will have to ensure several members of staff are trained to ensure that there is cover during holidays and sick leave, and other contingencies.
In some high-risk working environments and workplaces, it would be advisable to have one trained first aider for every 10 workers. This will ensure that, in high-risk workplaces, there will be trained first-aiders in all areas and during all shifts.
First aid risk assessment
It’s worth bringing in experts to help in two ways. First to conduct a detailed risk assessment. And secondly, you’ll need to bring in an expert training company to train your staff in first aid skills.
First aid requirements will differ from one place to another. Therefore, the type of health and safety risks and hazards will also differ. Other vital aspects are the size and area of the workplace, the location of the workplace, and the number of people working in different shifts. These factors (along with others) will decide the type of first aid requirement and will be able to reliably tell you how many first aiders are required in your workplace.
Based on this, adequate and appropriate training for first aiders should be provided.
Accurate information and data on the different aspects of risk and hazard assessment define the first aid process required. The type of first aid required must ultimately be focussed and suitable to the circumstances of the specific workplace. It will also decide the number of first aid kits needed, their contents and the number of trained first aiders.
Assess the risks
It would always be advisable to conduct a risk management exercise in the prospective workplace or office. This will help to:
- Identify hazards that could possibly result in work-related injury or illness
- Assess the type, severity and possible likelihood of injuries or illness
- Provide the appropriate first aid equipment, kits and kind of training required
- Review the first aid requirements on an ongoing basis
The detailed study conducted will also help identify the optimum location for placing the first aid equipment. These are generally located at convenient points and in easily accessible areas but close to the possibility of pre-assessed higher risk of injury or illness. In the case of a larger workplace area, there should be multiple first aid provisions available at strategic places.
- First aid and emergency services are located some distance away
- Workers and employees are spread over a wider working area
- Access to specific parts within the work areas is difficult
- The facility is multi-level and multi-floor
A proper risk assessment for the specific Health and Safety requirements of the workplace should consider the number of workers in all shifts, the type of work, level and degree of possibly identifiable hazard, assessment of level and type of past accidents, size and location of the workplace vis-à-vis the spread of workers, the current availability of occupational health service and ambulance service within or close to the workplace and finally, the travel distance to an external medical facility.
How will first aid training help?
Experienced first aid training providers offer courses online and onsite and can help you to develop a programme that is right for your team.
Providing effectively trained first aid assistance to workers and employees (who may be injured or have suddenly taken ill at their workplaces) will help reduce the severity of the injury or illness.
In many cases, provision of immediate first aid has saved lives. In most offices and commercial establishments, managers, officers and directors, are expected to affect and carry out due diligence in their work areas to ensure that the business complies with the basic regulations of Health and Safety, as per the policies of statutory authorities.
This invariably must cover the adequate efforts and steps being taken to ensure that the workplace or office has appropriately suitable resources and operational processes to manage, control and reduce the risk factors pertaining to workers’ health and safety.
Similarly, all employees and workers are expected to adopt appropriate processes and practices for their own health and safety. Company policies on employee health and safety at the workplace, such as procedures for first aid and reporting of accidents, injuries, and illnesses, are always non-negotiable, and any non-compliance with these policies generally leads to severe consequences.
Wrap up – How many first aiders are required in a workplace?
To sum up, make sure that your business always has at least one first aider available at all times. If you work in a high-risk industry then you will probably need even more first-aiders. Get expert advice and training to make sure that you have all bases covered.
There is certainly no harm in erring on the side of having more of your team trained in first aid skills than strictly required. It is a valuable transferable skill and also builds general confidence and self-esteem in those who acquire first aid skills. And if the worst happens you will have skilled and motivated people on hand to save the day and maybe even to save the business.