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First-aid

Why do I need to provide first-aid?

People at work can suffer injury or sudden illness at any time. It is important that employers have made arrangements to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. First-aid treatment can save lives as well as helping someone recover more quickly after an accident.

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What should I consider when assessing first-aid needs?

When assessing the first-aid needs in your workplace consider the following:

  • the nature of the work undertaken
  • the hazards present – e.g. chemicals, machinery, processes etc
  • the number of staff employed and their levels of experience
  • the location of your workplace in relation to emergency medical services
  • is there shift work , late night working or lone working
  • the previous accident record in your workplace

The minimum first-aid that should be provided in any workplace is an appointed person, a suitably stocked first-aid box and information for employees about first aid arrangements. In small, low-risk work environments such as offices and shops you may only need the minimum provision. However, for larger or higher risk work environments you will need to provide suitably trained first-aiders.

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What is an appointed person?

If you decide you don’t need a first-aider in your workplace, you should appoint someone to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The role of this appointed person includes looking after first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. They can also provide emergency cover where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances (annual leave does not count). Appointed persons do not need first-aid training, though emergency first-aid courses are available. Appointed persons training courses are not regulated by HSENI and HSENI has no legal requirement to ensure that refresher training takes place for an appointed person.

Even if you decide first-aiders are unnecessary, there is still the possibility of an accident or illness, so you may wish to consider providing qualified first-aiders. Appointed persons are not necessary where there are an adequate number of first-aiders.

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What is a first-aider?

A first-aider is someone who has undertaken training and has a qualification that HSENI or HSE in Great Britain (HSEGB) has approved. This means that they must hold a valid certificate of competence in either:

first-aid at work (FAW), issued by a training organisation approved by HSENI or by a recognised Awarding Body of Ofqual/Scottish Qualifications Authority.

  • first-aid at work (FAW), issued by a training organisation approved by HSENI or by a recognised Awarding Body of Ofqual/Scottish Qualifications Authority.
  • emergency first-aid at work (EFAW), issued by a training organisation approved by HSENI or by a recognised Awarding Body of Ofqual/Scottish Qualifications Authority.

If you would like to view a list of HSENI approved training providers, please download the following document:

HSENI Approved First Aid Training Providers HSENI Approved First Aid Training Providers (131KB) pub 10/15

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How many first-aiders do I need?

Suggested numbers of first-aid personnel to be available at all times people are at work.

From your risk assessment, what degree of hazard is associated with your work activities?

How many employees do you have?

What first-aid personnel do you need?

Low hazard

eg shops and offices, libraries

Less than 25

25-50

  


More than 50

At least one appointed person

At least one first-aider in EFAW

   

At least one first-aider trained in FAW for every 100 employed (or part thereof)

Higher hazard

eg light engineering and assembly work, food processing, warehousing, extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments, construction, chemical manufacture

Less than 5


5 - 50

   

   
More than 50

At least one appointed person

At least one first-aider trained in EFAW or FAW depending on the type of injuries that might occur

At least one first-aider trained in FAW for every 50 employed (or part thereof)

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What should I put in the first-aid box?

There is no standard list of items to put in a first-aid box. It depends on what you assess the needs are. However, as a guide, and where there is no special risk in the workplace, a minimum stock of first-aid items would be:

  • A leaflet giving general guidance on first aid;
  • 20 individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings (assorted sizes);
  • two sterile eye pads;
  • four individually wrapped triangular bandages (preferably sterile);
  • six safety pins;
  • six medium-sized (approximately 12 cm x 12 cm) individually wrapped sterile unmedicated wound dressings;
  • two large (approximately 18 cm x 18 cm) sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings; and
  • one pair of disposable gloves.

You should not keep tablets or medicines in the first-aid box.

The above is a suggested contents list only and you may need other items depending on your first-aid assessment – for example, if there is a risk of chemical contact you may need facilities such as eyebath, face wash or shower.

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Where can I find out more about first-aid provision?

First-aid at work - your questions answered (281KB) rev 01/16 V2

This updated version of this leaflet answers some basic questions about first-aid provision at work. It is aimed at employers in small and medium-sized enterprises, but may be useful to all employers, managers and others involved in first aid.

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Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS)

   

EMAS is a statutory advisory body within the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI). It is staffed by a specialist doctor, nurse and support staff. EMAS gives advice on health matters relating to work and approves and oversees first aid at work training organisations. EMAS contact details are as follows:
   
EMAS
HSENI
83 Ladas Drive
Belfast
BT6 9FR
Telephone: 028 9024 3249
Email: emasmail@hseni.gov.uk

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