FIRST AID NEEDS ASSESSMENT

First Aid Needs Assessment

What is a First Aid Needs Assessment?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate:

  • Equipment,
  • Facilities, and
  • Personnel

to ensure that their employees receive immediate attention if they were to be taken ill at work.

The Regulations apply to ALL workplaces including those with less than 5 employees and also to the self-employed.

What is Adequate and Appropriate?

The Regulations refer to adequate and appropriate, and this will depend on the type and circumstance of the workplace. It includes:

  • Whether trained first aiders are needed,
  • What should be included in a first aid box, and
  •  If a first aid room is required.

The Regulations state that employers should carry out an assessment of their first aid needs to determine what to provide.

What is included in a First Aid Needs Assessment?

To produce a First Aid Needs Assessment the following will need to be taken into consideration:

  • The nature of the work and workplace hazards and risks,
  • The nature of the workforce,
  • The organisation’s history of accidents,
  • The size of the organisation,
  • The needs of travelling, remote and lone workers,
  • Work patterns,
  • The distribution of the workforce,
  • The remoteness of the site from emergency services,
  • Employees working on shared or multi-occupied sites,
  • Annual leave and other absences of First Aider’s and Appointed persons,
  • First Aid provision for non-employees.

This will help you to determine what first aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided.

To complete your First Aid Needs Assessment, you could use our First Aid Requirements Calculator alternatively you can design your own proforma to record that you have done this.

Does the assessment just affect employed staff?

It is important to remember that the Regulations cover all businesses, regardless of the number of employed staff including the self-employed.

But, what about non-employees for example the public or children in schools? There is no legal duty placed on employers to make provision for these groups of people under the Regulations, however, the HSE strongly recommend that non-employees are included in an assessment of first aid needs and that provision is made for them.

First Aid Requirements Calculator

Unsure of your first aid training needs to meet your legal requirements?

Why not use our handy First Aid Requirements Calculator, simply enter a few details about your workplace, the calculator will then create you a printable report that breaks down your first aid requirements and recommends suitable training for you and your business?

The report is perfect for demonstrating you have completed a thorough needs assessment.

First Aid Personnel

Where the First Aid Needs Assessment identifies the need for people to be available to provide first aid, the employer should ensure that they are provided in sufficient numbers, meeting the assessment, and at appropriate locations to allow for provision to be provided without delay should the occasion arise.

Even in low hazard environments where there are 25 or more employees there should be at one trained first aid person provided.

Designated first aiders should have undertaken suitable training, have the appropriate qualification and remain competent in order to perform their role.

Factors to consider selecting a first aider

There are a number of factors that should be considered when selecting someone to take on the role of a first aider these include the individuals:

  • Reliability, disposition and communication skills,
  • Aptitude and ability to absorb new knowledge and try new skills,
  • Ability to cope with stressful and physically demanding emergency procedures,
  • Normal duties, which should be such taht they may be able to respond immediately and rapidly in an emergency situation.

How many first aiders are required?

The First Aid Needs Assessment findings will help the employer to decide how many first aider’s are required. There are no standard rules on exact numbers as employers will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of their individual workplace.

In order to determine the number of first aiders that are required the level of risk and hazards in the workplace must be considered, (see below), as soon as you have decided whether you are a low or high risk environment the guidance below will act as a guide on how many First Aider’s or appointed persons may be needed.

From your risk assessment, you will have decided what degree of hazard is associated with your work activities:

Low-hazard Environments:

This category includes:

  • Offices,
  • Shops, and
  • Libraries.

If you have:

  • Fewer than 25 employees you would need at least 1 appointed person,
  • 25 to 50 employees you would need at least 1 EFAW trained First Aider
  • More than 50 employees you would need at least 1 FAW trained First Aider for every 100 employed people (or part thereof).

Higher-hazard Environments:

This category includes:

  • Light engineering and assembly work,
  • Food processing warehousing,
  • Extensive work with dangerous equipment or sharp instruments, or
  • Chemical manufacture.

If you have:

  • Fewer than 5 employees you would need at least 1 appointed person,
  • 5 to 50 employees you would need at least 1 EFAW trained First Aider, depending on the type of injuries that may occur,
  • More than 50 employees you would need at least 1 FAW trained First Aider for every 50 employed people (or part thereof).

What injuries and illnesses have previously occurred in your workplace?

  • Ensure any injuries or illness that may occur can be dealt with by the First Aiders you provide,
  • Where First Aider’s are shown to be unnecessary, there is still a possibility of an accident or sudden illness, so you may wish to consider providing qualified First Aider’s.

Have you taken account of the factors below that may affect your first aid provision?

  • Inexperienced workers or employees with disabilities or particular health problems,
  • Employees who travel a lot, work remotely, or work alone,
  • Employees who work out-of-hours,
  • Premises spread out across buildings/floors,
  • Workplace remote from the emergency services,
  • Employees working at sites occupied by other employers,
  • Planned and unplanned absences of first aider/appointed person,
  • Members of the public who visit the workplace.

Categories of First Aiders

Appointed Persons

Where an employers First Aid Needs Assessment identifies that a qualified First aider is not required, as a minimum requirement an Appointed Person should be appointed.

This person will take charge of first aid arrangements, which includes:

  • Looking after the equipment and facilities, and
  • Calling the Emergency services when required.

Arrangements should be made for an appointed person to be made for an appointed person to be available to undertake these duties at all times while people are at work.

An Appointed person may have attended a half-day appointed person course.

Emergency First Aider

The role of the Emergency First aider is to take on the role alongside their normal day to day duties of the business.

Where the First Aid Needs Assessment identifies that a qualified Emergency First Aider is required, they should be provided in sufficient number to meet the needs of the assessment.

The Emergency First Aider will have attended an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification to train them to meet the needs of the emergencies that they may come across in their workplace.

If there are only Emergency First Aiders provided in the workplace, they will be required to take charge of the situation, however, if there are First Aiders who have completed the full 3-day (2-day Re-qualification) qualification, they will be required to support these staff members.

The Emergency First Aider should have appropriate qualification and remain competent in order to perform their role.

First Aider

The role of the First aider is to take on the role alongside their normal day to day duties of the business.

Where the First Aid Needs Assessment identifies that a qualified First Aider is required, they should be provided in sufficient number to meet the needs of the assessment.

The First Aider will have attended a First Aid at Work qualification to train them to meet the wide range of injuries and illnesses and emergencies that they may come across in their workplace.

Having completed the First Aid at Work qualification, there is a requirement for this person to take charge of the situation and guide people around them to assist as and when necessary, for example to gather the First Aid Box or the Automated External Defibrillator.

The First Aider should have appropriate qualification and remain competent in order to perform their role.

Factors to Consider in the Workplace

Use the findings from your general Risk Assessments and take account of any parts of your workplace that have different work activities/hazards which may require different levels of First Aid provision.

Does your workplace have low-level hazards such as those that might be found in offices and shops?

The minimum provision is:

  • An appointed person to take charge of First Aid arrangements,
  • A suitably stocked First Aid box.

Does your workplace have higher-level hazards such as chemicals or dangerous machinery?

You should consider:

  • Providing First Aider’s,
  • Providing additional training for First Aider’s to deal with injuries resulting from special hazards,
  • Providing a suitably stocked First Aid box,
  • Providing additional First Aid equipment,
  • Precise location of First Aid equipment,
  • Providing a First Aid room,
  • Informing the emergency services of specific hazards etc. in advance.

Do your work activities involve special hazards such as hydrofluoric acid or confined spaces?

You should consider:

  • Providing First Aider’s,
  • Additional training for First Aider’s to deal with injuries resulting from special hazards,
  • Providing a suitably stocked First Aid box,
  • Additional First Aid equipment,
  • Precise location of First Aid equipment,
  • Providing a First Aid room,
  • Informing the emergency services of specific hazards etc. in advance.

There are a whole range of hazards that can affect a workplace. Below are some examples of the types of hazards that a First Aid Needs Assessment should consider as well as what might cause the accident. Also, listed below are examples of the injuries that require First Aid caused by the hazard and resulting accident. 

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and will vary greatly depending on the individual working environment.

Chemicals

Exposure during handling, spillages, splashing, leaks

  • Poisoning,
  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Burns,
  • Eye Injuries,
  • Respiratory Problems

Electricity

Failure to securely isolate electrical systems and equipment during work on them, poorly maintained electrical equipment, contact with overhead power lines, underground power cables or mains electricity supplies, using unsuitable electrical equipment in explosive atmospheres

  • Electric shock,
  • Burns,
  • Heart attack

Machinery

Loose hair or clothing becoming tangled in machinery, being hit by moving parts or material thrown from machinery, contact with sharp edges

  • Crush injuries,
  • Amputations,
  • Fractures,
  • Lacerations,
  • Eye injuries.

Manual Handling

Repetitive and/or heavy lifting, bending and twisting, exerting too much force, handling bulky or unstable loads, handling in uncomfortable working positions

  • Fractures,
  • Lacerations,
  • Sprains and strains

Slips and Trip Hazards

Uneven floors, staircases, trailing cables, obstructions, slippery surfaces due to spillages, worn carpets and mats

  • Fractures,
  • Lacerations,
  • Sprains and Strains

Work at Heights

Overreaching or overbalancing when using ladders, falling off or through a roof

  • Head injury,
  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Spinal injury,
  • Fractures,
  • Sprains and strains,
  • Lacerations.

Workplace Transport

Hit by, against or falling from a vehicle, being hit by part of a load falling from a vehicle, being injured as a result of a  vehicle collapse or overturn

  • Crush injuries,
  • Head injury,
  • Fractures,
  • Sprains and strains

What is your record of accidents and ill-health?

What injuries and illness have occurred and where did they happen?

Ensure your first-aid provision will cater for the types of injuries and illnesses that have occurred in your workplace. Monitor accidents and ill-health and review your first-aid provision as appropriate.

How many people are employed on site?

Where there are small numbers of employees, the minimum provision is:

  • An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements,
  • A suitably stocked first-aid box.

Where there are large numbers of employees, i.e. more than 25, even in low-hazard environments, you should consider providing:

  • First-aiders,
  • Additional first-aid equipment,
  • A first-aid room.

Are there inexperienced workers on site, or employees with disabilities or particular health problems?

You should consider:

  • Additional training for firstaiders,
  • Additional first-aid equipment,#
  • Local siting of first-aid equipment. Your first-aid provision should cover any work experience trainees.

Do you have employees who travel a lot, work remotely or work alone?

You should consider:

  • Issuing personal first-aid kits,
  • Issuing personal communicators/mobile phones to employees.

Do any of your employees work shifts or out-of-hours?

You should ensure there is adequate first-aid provision at all times people are at work.

Are the premises spread out, e.g. are there several buildings on the site or multi-floor buildings?

You should consider the need for provision in each building or on each floor.

Is your workplace remote from emergency medical services?

You should:

  • Inform the emergency services of your location,
  • Consider special arrangements with the emergency services,
  • Consider emergency transport requirements

Do any of your employees work at sites occupied by other employers?

You should make arrangements with other site occupiers to ensure adequate provision of first aid.

A written agreement between employers is strongly recommended.

Do you have sufficient provision to cover absences of First Aiders or appointed persons?

You should consider:

  • What cover is needed for annual leave and other planned absences,
  • What cover is needed for unplanned and exceptional absences.

Do members of the public or nonemployees visit your premises?

Under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, you have no legal duty to provide first aid for non-employees but HSE strongly recommends that you include them in your first-aid provision.

Organisations such as:

  • Schools,
  • Places of entertainment,
  • Fairgrounds, and
  • Shops

Provide a service for others and it is strongly recommended that employers include others in their First Aid Assessment Needs. The assessment may show that additional is required for employees to fulfil their role fully, for example additional training in Paediatric First Aid if operating in a school.

Where First Aid provision is intended to cover both employees and non-employees, employers should check their Public Liability Insurance covers all activities of First Aiders.

Employers should also check:

  • The level of provision for employees does not fall below the standard required by the Regulations,
  • The level of provision for non-employees complies with any other relevant legislation and guidance.

Self Employed 

Regulation 5 of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 state:

A self-employed person shall provide, or ensure there is provided such equipment, if any, as is adequate and appropriate in the circumstances to enable him to render First Aid to himself while he is at work.’

The systematic approach to assessment that we have described for employers, may also be valid for deciding how much First Aid provision is needed by the self-employed.

A self-employed person carrying out activities involving low-hazards such as clerical work in their own homes would not be expected to provide First Aid equipment beyond their normal needs.

Where self-employed work on premises under the control of an employer OR with other self-employed people, they are each responsible for making their own First Aid provision.  However, as we mentioned in the Working Arrangements tab above joint arrangements can be made with other occupiers to provide common cover.

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