We are often asked this question by a range of Client’s, ‘How many First Aider’s do I need?‘.
Let’s cut to the chase and try to answer the question….
How Many First Aiders Do I Need?
Firstly, we need to determine if your workplace environment is considered low risk e.g. offices, shops. Or, if you operate in a higher risk environment e.g. construction, food processing.
Secondly, we must identify how many people are employed by your business.
The recommendations below are for guidance purposes only. First Aider needs may vary according to the size, nature and location of a business or organisation and should be assessed by a Competent person.
Option 1: Low Risk Environment
> 25 Employees
The HSE recommends that if work activities are low level hazard (e.g. office or shops) and there’s fewer than 25 employees, only one appointed person as a minimum may be suitable and a first-aider may not be required at all.
< 25 Employees
If the number of employees in this scenario increases to between 25 and 50, then at least one EFAW first aider is needed. If more than 50 people are employed, then at least one first aider trained in FAW for every 100 employed.
2. Higher Risk Environment
If a workplace has higher level hazards present (e.g. warehousing, construction, food processing, heavy engineering), then at least one appointed person is required if there are fewer than five employees.
For 5 to 50, at least one first aider trained in FAW or EFAW (depending on the type of injuries that may be sustained) is suggested. When the number of employees exceeds 50, at least 1 first aider trained in FAW for every 50 employed.
Do you Need a First Aider?
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations require employers to provide first aid facilities and support that is proportionate to their working environment.
(1) An employer shall provide, or ensure that there are provided, such
equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for
enabling first-aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at
First Aid Employers Responsibilities
Employers must make sure employees get immediate help if taken ill or injured at work.
The law applies to every workplace and to the self-employed. You must have:
- a suitably stocked first aid kit
- an appointed person or people to take charge of first aid arrangements
- information for all employees telling them about first aid arrangements
What ‘adequate and appropriate’ first aid arrangements are depends on the work you do and where you do it. You’re best placed to understand the nature of your work, so you should assess what your first aid needs are.
You must consider:
- the type of the work you do
- hazards and the likely risk of them causing harm
- the size of your workforce
- work patterns of your staff
- holiday and other absences of those who will be first aiders and appointed persons
- the history of accidents in your business
You might also consider:
- the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
- how close your sites are to emergency medical services
- whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
- first aid for non-employees including members of the public
You don’t have to write down your findings, but if you do, it will allow you to record how you’ve decided on your first aid arrangements.
First Aid Appointed Person
An appointed person is someone who is in charge of your first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the equipment, facilities and calling the emergency services.
You can have more than one appointed person and they don’t need to have any formal training.
An appointed person must always be available whenever people are at work.
What to put in a First Aid Kit
The contents of your first aid kit should be based on your first aid needs assessment. As a guide, where work activities are low-risk (for example, desk-based work) a minimum first aid kit might contain:
- a leaflet with general guidance on first aid
- individually wrapped sterile plasters of assorted sizes
- sterile eye pads
- individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
- safety pins
- large and medium-sized sterile, individually wrapped, unmedicated wound dressings
- disposable gloves
This is a suggested contents list.
If you are buying a kit look for British Standard (BS) 8599. By law, your kit doesn’t have to meet this standard but you should check it contains what you’ve identified in your needs assessment.
Maintaining or replacing contents of a first aid kit
Check your kit regularly. Many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. Replace expired items, disposing of them safely. If a sterile item doesn’t have an expiry date, check with the manufacturer to find out how long it can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, you should check that they are still fit for purpose.
First Aiders and Training
As discussed above, you might decide that you need someone trained in first aid, sometimes known as a first aider.
Despite the guidance we have provided on how many first aiders you might need, there are really no hard and fast rules on how many trained first aiders you must have.
It depends on the nature of your work and its location.
First aiders are trained by a competent training provider in:
- Emergency first aid at work (EFAW) – at this level they’re qualified to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work.
- First aid at work (FAW) – qualified to EFAW level but can also apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses
Use the findings of your first aid needs assessment to decide:
- if you need someone trained in first aid
- what’s an adequate and appropriate level of training
- how many people you train
Keep training up to date with regular refresher courses.