Health & Safety: First Aid & What You Need To Know

When considering health and safety you can put a wide-variety of safe-guards in place to protect employees and visitors, however, accidents in the workplace can and do happen, regardless of how thorough your risk assessment and precautions have been.

This is why first-aid is such an important element to your health and safety procedures and is not an area you should neglect - no matter how safe you think your workplace is. Legally you are obliged to provide an adequate first-aid kit that is appropriate for your place of work.

So what do you need to know about First-Aid?

Not all businesses have the same first-aid requirement - the kit should reflect the requirements of the business. For example, a business that handles dangerous chemicals on a regular basis may require a more comprehensive first-aid kit with items that deal with chemical burns, however, a business that operates out of a small office will undoubtedly have a different set of requirements all together. However, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recommend businesses to include the following as standard:

HSE provides a list of basic first aid requirements
  • The HSE leaflet that provides basic advice on first-aid

  • At least 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters - an assortment of shapes and sizes

  • Two sterile eye pads

  • Four individually wrapped triangular bandages

  • Six safety pins

  • Two large individually wrapped sterile bandages (un-medicated)

  • Six medium-sized individually wrapped sterile bandages (un-medicated)

  • A pair of disposable gloves

The HSE also states that some items are marked with an expiry-date and should be replaced prior to that date. Expired items should be disposed of safely.

With this in mind, as part of your risk assessment, you need to consider what your employees require to administer first-aid, as and when incidents occur in the workplace.

Read more about health and safety

Carrying out risk assessments | Stop slips and trips in the kitchen | Health & safety in the workplace

First-Aid Training Requirements

Have staff trained on-site to administer first aid

A first-aid kit is not much good without training on how to use the equipment when needed.

In many cases a standard "First-Aid At Work" (FAW) 3 day course or an "Emergency First-Aid At Work" (EFAW) 1 day course will suffice.

There are more specialist first-aid courses available that are more tailored around your business' needs. For example, learning how to administer epi-pens (for people with severe allergies - including nut allergy and bee allergy sufferers), how to use a defibrillator (heart starting equipment), or even travel expedition medical skills training - such as dealing with malaria and typhoid fever.

For many businesses, however, a simple first-aid course will suffice and it doesn't cost a lot to have staff trained-up. In the end it's worth it - you can feel safe in the knowledge that you have trusted people on-site who are trained to administer treatment should someone be injured or fall ill.

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