First aid can be the difference between life and death. Its an employers responsibility to ensure that employees can get immediate help if injured or ill at work. The law applies to every workplace and to the self-employed and states that:
- A first aid kit must be available (suitably stuck and in date)
- An appointed person/persons must be in place to take overall responsibility for health & safety
- Information and guidance is available to all employees on first aid arrangements
The work you carry out affects what is deemed as adequate for your first aid needs. There is no one better placed to understand the nature of your work than yourself, so you should assess what is needed. It is important to consider the following when assessing your first aid needs:
- The type of work carried out
- Hazards and the risk of them occurring
- The size of your workforce
- Holidays and absentees of the appointed first aid person
- The history of accidents in your business
So what is an appointed person when it comes to first aid? according to the HSE, an appointed person is anyone who is in charge of your first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the first aid equipment, facilities and calling the emergency services.
What needs to go in a first aid box?
The contents of your first aid box will depend upon your first aids assessment. Where work activities are low risk, the minimum that should be present in your first aid box include:
- A leaflet with general First Aid guidance
- Sterile plasters
- Sterile eye pads
- Safety pins
- Wound dressings
First aid kits should be checked regularly by the appointed person to ensure everything reminds in date.
You might decide that you need someone trained in first aid, sometimes known as a first aider. There are no hard and fast rules on how many trained first aiders you should have. It depends on the nature of your work and its location. First aiders are trained by a competent training provider in:
- emergency first aid at work (EFAW) – at this level they’re qualified to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work
- first aid at work (FAW) – qualified to EFAW level but can also apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses