First Aid is action carried out by laypersons to preserve life pending attendance by a trained medical practitioner. Employers should stipulate that those carrying out first aid should never initiate action which goes beyond the limits covered by this definition. As well as providing assistance in the event of injury, etc., employers are also required to notify appropriate authorities under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) of all reportable incidents affecting everyone on their sites whether employed or visiting. The 1995 revision of the regulations requires employers to report acts of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work.

Legal Obligations
Under the Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 (and the revised code of practice issued in 1997) (available from Health & Safety Executive, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6FS - Tel 01787 881165) an employer is obliged to provide:

suitable first aid staff and services in accordance with the nature of the business, the degree of danger or hazard in the operations, the number of employees and the proximity to medical assistance. As a guide, it is felt that one first aider per 50 employees in a low risk environment (e.g. office, shop, etc.,) is probably adequate. If there are less than 50 employees, someone responsible should be appointed to act in the event of an incident. In higher risk environments, there should be one first aider for up to 50 employees, plus one first aider for every additional 50 employees. A first aider is defined as someone who holds a current certificate in first aid.

The employer should also provide a first aid room (if there are 400 or more employed at a single site), but again its provision will depend on the assessment of the hazards.

First aid boxes will normally contain:

a guidance card;

20 sterile adhesive dressing (assorted sizes)[1];

2 sterile eye pads;

6 triangular bandages (for use as slings);

6 safety pins[2]; and

6 medium, 2 large and 3 extra large wound dressings.

All dressings, etc., should be individually wrapped. Protective gloves and an airway should be provided for First Aiders (to provide protection against possible AIDS/HIV and other infections).

Draft Policy/Procedure

1. The [employer's name] provides a workplace and processes in compliance with health and safety regulations to ensure a safe location for its employees and visitors.

2. For occasions when first aid must be provided [employees names] have volunteered to provide such assistance.

3. The Organisation sponsors its First Aiders by:

funding their training to acquire a certificate of competence, and any updating required; and

giving each First Aider an annual honorarium of [£50] in recognition of their assistance.

4. The First Aid room is available for all employees who need rest after injury etc. Such use must be authorised in advance by a manager or a First Aider.

5. The duty of First Aiders is to preserve life until the attendance of a paramedic or qualified medical practitioner, to reassure the patient, and to ensure the speedy removal of the patient to hospital in the event of a serious accident. First Aiders are not permitted to issue drugs of any description, or to offer medical advice. No liability can be accepted by the Organisation, or individual First Aiders, for attending and helping in a situation requiring first aid.

6. In the event of an accident or an employee feeling unwell a supervisor should call a First Aider who will treat the patient (as above) and enter in the Accident Book the patient's name, the nature of the accident or incident, the patient's condition and details of any treatment given, with a note of the time, date and place.

7. If the accident is a simple cut or abrasion, the First Aider, or the patient, can clean the wound and apply an adhesive dressing. If the patient feels unwell, they should be taken to the first aid room and allowed to sit or lie quietly for 30 minutes. If the feeling continues, the patient should either be taken home, taken to their, or the organisation, doctor or to hospital. Organisation transport should be used rather than the employee's own vehicle. No liability will be accepted as a result of the Organisation trying to assist in these ways. In the event that the employee's vehicle is left on Organisation premises, efforts will be made to protect it, but no liability can be accepted for it.

8. If a First Aider considers an incident is serious and that emergency treatment is required, they will be responsible for summoning an ambulance. The First Aider will brief the ambulance staff and, should the circumstances require, either the first aider, or [a Personnel Department] representative, should accompany the employee to hospital, and either remain there until completion of treatment, or until the family of the employee have been summoned, depending upon the circumstances.

9. First Aiders are expected to set an example by maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, e.g. washing their hands and removing overalls, before administering treatment of any kind. If a First Aider needs to deal with bleeding, burns, sickness or risk of contact with bodily fluids, they should wear the protective gloves provided in every first aid box. Such gloves should be disposed of safely after treatment. Any clothing which becomes soiled, should be removed as soon as appropriate and carefully cleaned. Any treatment dressings or swabs, etc., should be disposed of hygienically.

10. In the event of artificial resuscitation being required, an airway (provided in each first aid box) should be used rather than direct, mouth to mouth, contact.

11. Any First Aider required to provide treatment, whilst suffering from a cut or abrasion, should ensure such cuts, etc., are adequately protected.

12. Each First Aider will be responsible for a first aid box and for the re-ordering of dressings, so that the minimum contents are always available. Only a First Aider should have access to a first aid box.


  1. Anonymous // February 23, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

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