Workplace health and safety is of critical importance in today’s world. With the Covid-19 spread, and the rapid expansion of the pandemic, employers have had to become extra vigilant about the health of all employees. Now that the vaccinations are rolled out, and coronavirus numbers in the UK are steadily decreasing, it is necessary to have first aiders present for all emergencies. The UK has stringent rules and regulations for occupational health and safety.
Since there are small instances that can lead to significant health concerns like cuts, aches, bruises, and so on, all businesses must have first aiders at the workplace. Employers can provide certified first aid training courses to employees wishing to learn and help others.
How Many First Aiders Are Required (According To Law)?
The Health and Safety Regulations 1981 states that employers must ensure appropriate first aid equipment, qualified first aiders, and facilities are available for all employees. This rule is quite vague and doesn’t provide as much clarity on the exact figures. Most businesses find it very difficult to figure out if they are legally compliant with the law surrounding ACLS cert.
For this reason and others, it is best to carry out a health and safety risk assessment and analysis. Understanding the exact figures will help with the correct numbers.
How to Assess for First Aider Risk?
The purpose of carrying out a risk assessment is to inform authorities that you (as an employer) have followed the law. It is best to keep a record of the evaluation in case of a review or to show local government bodies (Health and Safety Executive – HSE).
The risk assessment should answer the following questions:
- Is my workplace high or low risk?
- Do I have any lone workers?
- How many people are at a health and safety risk?
- Are all my employees full time or part-time?
- Where does my workforce spend maximum time – in the office or on the field?
- Are there any emergency services within walking distance of the workplace?
- Do I need to account for daily visitors?
While the current legal system does not require you to provide aid to visitors, it is best to be prepared for all eventualities. If you (as an employer) decide there is a requirement for only one first aider, you may have to make contingencies for when the person is unavailable or on leave. If you are running a daycare for children, you would also need to ensure there are people trained in paediatric first aid. If there are children around the workplace or people who bring their children to work, you would also need to account for adequate first aid in case of emergencies.
Including all these contingencies in the risk assessment will help get a clearer picture of how many first aiders are required for your business. High-risk areas of work like construction sites, aquariums, and so on require first aiders with certifications.
How Many First Aiders Do I Require?
Once you have successfully carried out the risk assessment, you will get a good idea of how many first aiders you need. While there is no right or wrong answer to how many people you need, it is best to work according to HSE recommendations.
According to the HSE, if the business employs between 5 – 50 people, you need to have a minimum of one person trained in first aid. There should be one first aider per 50 employees after that.
For low-risk businesses with fewer employees (25 – 50), there should be one first aider with the Emergency First Aid at Work training. This should be certified training. It is best practice to offer all employees the chance to complete the first aid certification to avoid issues later. Since accidents can occur at any time, having additional first aiders in the workplace will only be a boon.
Is There A Need To Have An Appointed Person?
The appointed person need not be a first aider but is responsible for maintaining all first aid equipment and calling the ambulance in case of assistance. The HSE has advised that high and low-risk workplaces should have an appointed person. Apart from having first aiders, it is crucial to understand the importance of an appointed person. The appointed person plays an assistive role to first aiders and manages the logistics of emergencies while the first aider is busy saving lives. When done correctly, both positions are critical in saving lives and ensuring safety in the workplace.