No matter what kind of business you work in, you should already be aware of how important first aid training is.
Not only is it a crucial skill that could potentially save someone’s life, but it’s also a legal requirement that you have first aiders in your workplace. Accidents can happen even in the most low-risk of scenarios, so making sure that your business is adequately equipped to handle emergencies is vital.
Plus, the knowledge that people in your employ are ready to deliver first aid on the scene is one less thing to worry about throughout the day.
How Many First Aiders Will I Need?
When it comes to the specifics of how many first aiders you’ll need in your workplace, the law can get a bit vague.
According to the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations of 1981, a business must have adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and trained first aiders. This applies to all workplaces, even those with less than five employees and for those who are self-employed. Unfortunately, there isn’t any one definition of what adequate means. While it entirely depends on the risks of your area of business and how many employees you have, it is always better to be over rather than underprepared. After all, if someone should fall ill or become injured, you want to make sure that they’ll be able to receive the best treatment they can until a medical professional arrives. This way, your employees are happy, and you’re less likely to be open to any kind of lawsuit.
Your business will also affect what kind of equipment you’ll need in your first aid kit as well as if a first aid room is required.
Should you want further information, make sure to have a look at HSE’s guidance on the subject.
First Aider Risk Assessments
If you want to be sure of the minimum number of first aiders you’ll require, you’ll need to carry out a risk assessment. While it sounds like a daunting task, it is quite simple as long as you’re careful and thorough. Carrying one out proves to the authorities that you have fairly assessed your workspace and you should keep a record of it should a Health and Safety Executive ever need to see it.
When doing this kind of assessment, the first thing you’ll need to consider is the day-to-day workings of your business and how high-risk of an environment you work in. For example, if you work on a construction site or in maintenance work, you’ll be in an environment far more likely for dangerous accidents than in an office.
Also, think about if you have regular visitors to the office. While the law currently states that you don’t need to give aid to non-employees, if you work in an industry where you will have a lot on onsite visitors, then it is probably a good idea to be prepared, e.g. if there’s going to be a lot of children on site.
If you have a workspace of fewer than 25 employees, it’s suggested that you have an appointed person. An appointed person is someone who is responsible for maintaining all first-aid equipment and who will call an ambulance if necessary. While they don’t have to be completely first-aid trained, both high and low risk workspaces are suggested to have one.
If You’re Self-Employed
If you’re self-employed, you’re still required to have the relevant knowledge and first-aid equipment to use on yourself while working.
You should still asses the hazards around your workplace and educate yourself with the appropriate level of first aid knowledge. If your work is low-risk i.e. clerical, then you won’t need to get extra first aid equipment beyond what you already have for your domestic needs. If you work on a mixed premise with other people, you’ll need to consider the risks of having other people around even though you aren’t legally responsible for their first aid. Perhaps you drive long distances, in which case you’ll need suitable provisions in your vehicle like a stocked first-aid kit.
First Aid Courses
For a course like this, make sure to be dressed appropriately. You’re going to be spending a lot of time both standing, sitting and kneeling so trousers and flat shoes will work best. If you have a physical disability or restraint that makes kneeling for prolonged periods uncomfortable, a first-aid course may not be advisable. Make sure to ask whoever is running the course if they can accommodate you.
Many first aid courses will show depictions of real-life emergencies, which may be distressing to some. Luckily, most training courses will have people on hand to help you through and you will always have the option to leave at any time.
Ultimately, the benefits of having first aid trained staff cannot be stressed enough. Being able to administer first aid in time of emergency can make so much of a difference while you’re waiting for the emergency services to arrive. While no one wants to think about the possibilities of accidents in the workplace, they do happen and it’s important to be prepared by making sure that risk assessments have been filled, the appointed staff have taken the proper training courses and that your workspace has the necessary first aid equipment suitable for treating common accidents.