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What are employer first aid requirements for businesses?

As a business owner, health and safety is super important. In this guide, we delve into first aid and employers' responsibilities so that you can create a safe workplace.

You may already be aware of just how dangerous working in the trade sector can be. This is especially true when employees are operating large and heavy machinery.

If you run your own trade business, you’ll likely know about the different safe working practices in the UK.

Keeping your employees safe is extremely important but accidents can still happen, even if health and safety procedures are in place. That’s why employer first aid requirements need to be carefully followed.

cpr first aid requirements

Why employer first aid requirements are so important

As a responsible employer, your priority should be your workers and their safety whilst doing their jobs.

In fact, if there’s an accident or injury at your workplace you’ll need to act quickly. Applying appropriate first aid can save a life and stop any injuries from getting worse.

Below is a summary of why employer first aid requirements are so important:

  • Accidents and mistakes can be dangerous and have life-threatening effects on your employees
  • Any serious injuries can not only threaten your employees but may also affect the running of your company
  • Having a first aid kit can quickly help to treat many types of injury and prevent them from escalating
  • Having first aiders at work can also help to deal with serious injuries and potentially save a life

What do first aid regulations require employers to do?

In order to make sure that your employees have access to immediate care, there are a range of different employer legal requirements for first aid. These apply to businesses of any size, even if you only have one employee.

So, what do you need to do as an employer?

Well, you’ll need to follow the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations of 1981, put in place by the HSE.

As part of this legislation, employers must provide the right facilities, equipment, and personnel to give employees immediate treatment after falling ill or becoming injured.

In order to know exactly what needs to be in place, you’ll need to have an assessment carried out.

This needs to include:

  • First aid boxes
  • First aiders
  • First aid room
  • The assessment will also reveal how many of each you need

It’s important to remember that the first aid at work regulations are subject to updates and tweaks. You can find the latest publication of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 on the official HSE website.

When does an employer need to provide a first-aid box?

First aid boxes are an affordable way of providing supplies to help treat your employees in case of accident or injury. But when does an employer need to provide a first aid box?

You may be surprised to find out that all employers need to provide a first aid box, even in small companies.

As we mentioned above, a risk assessment needs to be completed to decide what the appropriate number of first aid boxes is. However, generally, if you have less than 25 employees, you’ll likely only need to provide one small kit.

Your kit should contain things like plasters, dressings, gloves, scissors, foil blanket, micro tape, and bandages.

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What are the minimum requirements for first aid kits in the workplace?

Again, this depends on the risk assessment results. These will dictate the number of first aid kits as well as the size of the kits you need.

First aid kits are available in small, medium, and large versions. There are strict guidelines in place to make sure you have sufficient supplies for your employees.

For example, a high-risk company of less than 25 employees will need:

  • 1 large kit.

On the other hand, a low-risk company of 75 employees will need:

  • 1 medium kit.

health and safety clothing

Is it a legal requirement to have a first aider on site?

Having a first aider isn’t always a legal requirement, it really depends on the size of your company and the number of employees.

Following an assessment, employers must ensure that there are appropriate and adequate first aiders in the workplace.

If your business is small, it may not be essential to train a first aider.

However, you still need to put someone in charge of first aid arrangements in case of injury or illness.

How many first-aiders do I need?

As we mentioned previously, this will depend on the results of the risk assessment you carry out. In addition, it’s essential that you properly document your assessment in case any authorities ask for evidence.

The assessment will look at a number of different factors. This includes:

  • The level of risk in your workplace
  • The number of employees you have
  • Whether your workers are full or part-time
  • The distance to your local hospital

It’s also important to plan ahead for times when your first aider is unwell or takes annual leave. Who will take over their role temporarily?

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Looking after your workers

While accidents in the workplace cannot be completely avoided, there are ways to minimise the risk to your employees.

Whether it’s workplace hazards for plumbers or common construction hazards, having this knowledge will help you know what to look out for. This is especially important as there might be specific risks related to your trade industry.

No matter what your job entails, implementing security measures is essential.

If you’re at all confused or unsure how best to protect your workers, why not consider joining Checkatrade?

With access to our network of members, you can speak to like-minded tradespeople and get advice about the right steps to take to improve employee safety.

Useful checklist for employer first aid requirements

  • As an employer it’s up to you to put plans into place in case an employee is injured or unwell
  • Carrying out a risk assessment will help you to determine the number of first aid kits, first aiders and first aid rooms your company needs
  • Having sufficient first aid in place can help to save lives and minimise damage from injuries
  • First aid kits are available in small, medium and large
  • Depending on your industry, there may be specific health and safety regulations aside from first aid such as the Electricity at Work Regulations

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Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

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