Workplace photograph

As an employer (even if self-employed) you need to make a decision as to the level of First Aid trained staff that are available to your Organisation. The HSE has abdicated the decision to yourselves, although it does provide guidance to assist your decision making. This chart is based on the HSE Guidelines (click chart for a larger picture).

First Aid at work flowchart


What do I need?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates first aid requirements within a workplace. Its website has some very good and clear advice as to the requirements. Click here to go the the HSE’s First Aid overview and click here to go to the specific Legislation page. From its website:

“The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed.”

… and …

“As a minimum, a low-risk workplace such as a small office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, such as calling the emergency services if necessary. Employers must provide information about first-aid arrangements to their employees”


This publication (purchase a hard copy or download for free) is a must-read to employers as it will give you a good idea as to what level of First Aid training you need to provide. Here is a brief summary from there:

Firstly you, as an Employer need to Assess first Aid needs

  • Identify and risk-assess workplace hazards
  • Identify the number of employees on site
  • Do any of the employees have additional needs – e.g. inexperienced or with a disability?
  • Do you have lone workers, shift workers or employees out on the road a lot?
  • Is your location remote or high security, resulting in a delay for Emergency Services?
  • Is the site spread out with multiple units?
  • From your historic records what types of injury are likely.
  • Do you get large numbers of Public on site? Under the Regulations you have no legal responsibility towards them but the HSE strongly recommends that you include them in the assessment.

From this you can identify the number and type of First Aiders required, the First Aid equipment that should be available and possibly additional training (e.g. hazardous chemical handling or lifting and handling).

Qualsafe Awards provides a handy free First Aid requirement calculator for you to use.

Types of Workplace First Aider

Appointed Person

An Appointed Person does not need any First Aid Training. All (s)he needs to do is to take charge of the arrangements, such as checking First Aid kits are suitably stocked with in-date equipment and being able to call an ambulance and deal with them if required. A Business can put the Appointed person through an online course to gain some knowledge. As First Aid is a practical subject, however, it may be prudent to put the Appointed person through a 1-day Emergency First Aid at Work course.

Emergency First Aid at Work First Aider

This person will have taken a 6 hour Emergency First Aid at work course, which will be valid for 3 years. It covers treatments designed to provide basic life support until the Emergency Services arrive. After 3 years, the same 6-hour course needs to be retaken.

First Aid at Work First Aider

This person will have taken a 18 hour First Aid at Work course which will be valid for 3 years. It covers treatments, designed to provide basic life support until the Emergency Services arrive and also a wider range of medical conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes as well as Fractures and spinal injuries. It is designed for a higher risk work environments, such as a farm or Building Site. After 3 years, the same 18-hour course needs to be retaken, although if retaken within 3 years, there is an option to take a condensed 2-day (12 hour) version.

Forestry +F First Aid

Forestry First Aid is a 1-2 hour add-on to the First Aid at Work or Emergency First Aid at Work course and covers additional subjects that might be encountered by Forestry workers.

This module is designed to meet the requirements of the Forestry Commission First Aid at Work Policy.

It is a ‘bolt-on’ 1-2 hour unit with exact time dependent upon the content of the first aid qualification it is added to. Click here for more information.