First aid at work – guidance and information
As an employer you are responsible for making sure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and first aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones.
What employers need to do
You must make appropriate first-aid arrangements for your workplace. In doing so you should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the health and safety risks that may be present to help you decide what arrangements you need to put in place.
Some small low-risk workplaces need to have only a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements such as calling the emergency services and stocking the first-aid box. The appointed person does not need specific first-aid training.
If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.
You must provide all your employees with details of the first-aid arrangements
First-aid needs assessment
In order to establish what provision for first-aid is required you should make an assessment of the first-aid needs appropriate to the circumstances of your business.
This should include consideration of:
the workforce, and
the hazards and risks present.
You can find out more information on carrying out a first-aid needs assessment, including a suite of example case studies and an online assessment tool to help you decide what arrangements you need to put in place for first aid.
Your arrangements will depend on the outcome of your first-aid needs assessment and the particular circumstances in your workplace at any given time.
The findings of the needs assessment should indicate the level of first-aid equipment, facilities and personnel required.
As a minimum, you must have:
a suitably stocked first-aid kit
an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements;
information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements.
Where your needs assessment identifies workplace or workforce issues, or more significant health and safety risks, you are likely to need a sufficient number of appropriately trained first aiders and may need to arrange additional equipment and facilities.
You might decide that you need a first-aider. This is someone who has been trained by a competent first aid training provider in first aid at work, emergency first aid at work, or some other appropriate level of training (identified by your needs assessment).
If you have identified that you need first-aiders HSE has produced guidance to help you select a competent first aid training provider.
Where your first-aid needs assessment identifies that a first-aider is not required, you must appoint a person to take charge of the first-aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities, and calling the emergency services when required. An appointed person is not required to have any formal training.
It is important that someone is always available to take charge of the first-aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. Arrangements should be made for an appointed person to be available to undertake these duties at all times when people are at work.
The minimum level of first-aid equipment you may need is a suitably stocked first-aid box. (First-aid kit.) You should provide at least one first-aid kit for each workplace, although more than one might be required on larger sites. Each kit should be stocked with a sufficient quantity of first-aid materials suitable for the particular circumstances of your workplace.
First-aid kits should be made easily accessible. The contents of first-aid kit should be checked frequently and restocked soon after any use.
Your needs assessment may indicate that additional materials and equipment are required eg foil blankets, cleansing wipes, cutting shears. These may be kept in the first-aid kit if there is room, or stored separately.
HSE has published further guidance on first aid equipment which gives advice on the minimum contents of a first-aid kit.
You may need to provide a suitable first-aid room where your needs assessment identifies that one is required. This will usually be necessary in larger premises or where higher hazards are present. The room should be easily accessible and a designated person should be given responsibility for supervising it.
Wherever possible, a first-aid room should be reserved exclusively for the purposes of first aid.
First-aid rooms should:
be large enough to hold an examination/medical couch;
have washable surfaces and adequate heating, ventilation and lighting;
be kept clean, tidy, accessible and available for use at all times when employees are at work;
ideally, have a sink with hot and cold running water;
be positioned as near as possible to a point of access for transport to hospital.
First aid rooms should display a notice on the door advising of the names, locations and, if appropriate, contact details for first-aiders. This information should also be displayed in other appropriate places.
HSE has published further guidance on equipment and facilities that you may require in a first aid room.
Accidents and ill health
Under health and safety law, you must report and keep a record of certain injuries, incidents and cases of work-related disease.
You can find out which ones must be reported and how to report them on our report an incident pages.
RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).
Keeping records will help you to identify patterns in the incidence of accidents and injuries, and will help when completing your risk assessment. Your insurance company may also want to see your records if there is a work-related claim.