Please be advised that a new national standard for workplace First Aid kits was introduced on 1st July 2011. Existing kits will be withdrawn by the end of 2011. Avanti now stocks the new BSi kits. Follow this link for more information, or give us a call.
Health and Safety Executive Employers' Legal Duties
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These regulations apply to all workplaces including those with five or fewer employees and to the self-employed. HSE will prosecute in cases where there is a significant risk, a disregard for established standards or persistent poor compliance with the law.
What is adequate will depend on the circumstances in the workplace. This includes whether trained first-aiders are needed, what should be included in a first aid box and if a first aid room is needed. Employers should carry out an assessment of first aid needs to determine this.
Such an assessment involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what first aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided.
The minimum first aid provision on any work site is:
- a suitably stocked first aid box
- an appointed person to take charge of first aid arrangements
- information for employees about first aid arrangements
First Aid provision for non-employees
The regulations do not place a legal duty on employers to make first aid provision for non-employees such as the public or children in schools. However, HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in an assessment of first aid needs and that provision is made for them.
HSE issued an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) in 1997 offering practical advice and aiming to help employers understand and comply with the regulations. The most relevant guidelines from this Code (commonly known as L74) are highlighted below:
Regulation 3 (1) Duty of Employer to make Provision for First Aid
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 work.
ACOP 3 (4) Assessment of Need
An employer should make an assessment of first aid needs appropriate to the circumstances of each workplace.
ACOP 3 (34) First Aid Materials, Equipment and Facilities
When the assessment of first aid requirements has been completed, the employer should provide the materials, equipment and facilities needed to ensure that the level of cover identified as necessary will be available to employees at all relevant times. This will include ensuring that first aid equipment, suitably marked and easily accessible, is available in all places where working conditions require it.
ACOP 3 (35) First Aid Containers
The minimum level of first aid equipment is a suitably stocked and properly identified first aid container. Every employer should provide for each work site at least one first aid container supplied with a sufficient quantity of first aid materials suitable for the particular circumstances.
Guidance on this point is that there is no mandatory list of items to be included in a first aid container. As a guide, where work activities include low hazards, a minimum stock of first aid items might be:
- a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid
- 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes)
- two sterile eye pads
- four individually wrapped triangular bandages
- six safety pins
- two large, sterile, individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings
- six medium-sized, sterile, individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings
- a pair of disposable gloves
Please note that this is a suggested contents list only.
Further guidance on this point states that the contents of first aid containers should be examined frequently and restocked soon after use. Sufficient supplies should be held in stock on site. Care should be taken to dispose of items safely once they reach their expiry date.
ACOP 3 (52) First-Aiders
Where the first aid assessment identifies a need for people to be available for rendering first aid, the employer should ensure that they are provided in sufficient numbers and at appropriate locations to enable first aid to be administered without delay should the occasion arise. Where 50 or more people are employed, at least one such person should be provided unless the assessment justifies otherwise.
ACOP 3 (67) Appointed Persons
Where an employer's assessment of first aid needs identifies that a first-aider is not necessary, the minimum requirement on an employer is to appoint a person to take charge of the first aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities, and calling the emergency services when required. Arrangements should be made for an appointed person to be available to undertake these duties at all times when people are at work.
Remember that accidents and illness can happen at any time. First aid provision needs to be available at all times people are in work.
View PDF: First Aid at Work
View PDF: Approved Code of Practice
Avanti stocks an extensive range of HSE compliant first aid products, from full kits to more specialised burn care and emergency eye treatments, and everything in between.
If you need guidance or advice on any aspect of first aid or health and safety, including what is legally required of your organisation, please contact us and we will be happy to advise. Also available to download from the Resources section of our website are the following documents issued by the Health and Safety Executive:
- Basic Advice on First Aid at Work leaflet
- The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 Approved Code of Practice and guidance (web-friendly version)