First Aid at Work

BACK 07-10-2016

First Aid at Work

It can be difficult for employers to understand the requirement and level of provisions they are required to make for first aid for their staff.

First Aid At Work

In the event of a member of staff becoming ill or having an accident at work, employers are legally required to make arrangements for the immediate care of their staff. To achieve this, in accordance with The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, an employer needs to:

  • Be reflective of the risks and hazards involved at the workplace and assess first aid needs
  • Provide enough trained first aid personnel and equipment to assist ill or injured employees

Businesses (such as shops) dealing with the public should also consider provisions for this in their needs assessment.

If you are self-employed you should make appropriate first aid arrangements for your working environment, even if you work from home. If you work with other self-employed people on a site, subject to written agreement, you may choose to make joint arrangements, otherwise you are each responsible for making your own first aid arrangements for you and your staff.

The needs assessment

Based on the hazards and risks in your workplace and to help you determine how many first aiders you need and what training they should have, you should assess your first aid needs.

Needs assessment considerations

  • Organisation Size – number of first aiders you need?
  • Work undertaken – are specific accidents or injuries a risk to staff?
  • For multiple sites – do you need a first aider in each area or how quickly can a first aider move between sites?

    If you have any staff who:
  • work alone , remotely or travel – do they need a first aid box or a mobile phone for emergencies?
  • work out-of-hours or shift pattern – what arrangements do you need to make for each shift?
  • have medical conditions – is specific training required for emergencies?

What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in the workplace. This includes whether trained first-aiders are needed, what should be included in a first-aid box and if a first-aid room is required. Employers should carry out an assessment of first-aid needs to determine what to provide.

For more information download the HSE guide alternatively visit the HSE website at