First aid, the law and your business
Date: Wednesday, 07 December 2016. -
Blog, First Aid, First Aid Emergencies, Training, Paediatric
Why is first aid important?
Would you know what to do in a medical emergency? Every day hundreds of accidents occur at work or at home. Having the right skills and knowledge and the confidence to know what to do should a person need medical assistance, can greatly improve their chances of survival and increase the extent that they recover.
What does first aid law look like now?
In the event of sudden illness or injury, failure to receive adequate first aid could result in death, for this reason it is a legal requirement for workplaces to make adequate first aid arrangements. The relevant legislation regarding first aid requirements in the workplace is the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.
The law requires that a first aid assessment is carried out to consider the following;
- At what level of risk is the workplace at?
This will focus on any hazardous material, chemicals or heavy machinery that may increase the risk of injury.
- What’s the size of the workforce?
This will affect how many appointed first aiders are required, along with how many kits are necessary.
It’s also important to consider any disability or long term illnesses which an appointed person would have to manage.
- What size are the premises?
Depending on size, it may be necessary to have different first aid kits/first aiders available on different floors/areas
- How close are emergency services and sites for further care?
In the city centre, it’s easy for emergency services to get to a medical scene quickly, however, if the business premises are remote or difficult to reach, it may be necessary to undergo enhanced first aid training.
- Is the work place open to the public or is it private?
It is necessary to take into account visitors to the premises.
The first aid arrangements you make will depend on the findings of your business’s first aid needs assessment, however, as a minimum you must ensure:
- You have an adequately stocked first aid kit
- You have an appointed and trained person responsible for taking charge of first aid arrangements
- You have information for all employees including details of first aid arrangements
Recent changes in paediatric first aid:
It's necessary to know specialised first aid in cases of children, toddlers and babies. The tragic death of Millie Thompson, the 9 month old baby who choked whilst at nursery in 2012 has led to the introduction of a requirement that all nursery workers achieve a full paediatric first aid certificate in order to work.
What does the future look like for first aid law?
Just as physical health is covered by the current first aid legislation, there are calls to bring in new legislation which will make a legal provision for mental health first aid. The mental health charity Mind have a mental health first aid course designed to increase knowledge and confidence to enable first aid and support for people experiencing a mental health problem. Mental health organisations are calling for courses like this to be made mandatory for appointed first aiders in the same way as physical first aid is.
If you need advice on making sure your business is compliant with government first aid requirements, or would like to organise first aid training for your staff, you should speak to our team today. We will be only too happy to help – for more information on our service, take a look at our First Aid at work page.