All employers have a duty of care to protect the safety and welfare of all employees whilst at work or conducting activities on behalf of their employer.

One of the many areas of health and safety which requires attention is first aid and its provisions to enable the protection of employees in the event of an injury or emergency situation. All employers no matter how large or small should take the welfare of the employees very seriously with first aid being one of the highest priorities in protecting their safety.

First aid has been proven to be an extremely useful tool when preventing or assisting injury. In the US many states have a programme introduced at school level where students are trained in first aid, this has been proven to have saved many lives and is commended throughout the world as good working practice but unfortunately not all countries such as the US obviously take first aid as being a serious issue which can prevent serious injury and even death.

The UK have a legislation requirement named the First Aid at Work stating The Health and Safety Regulations are that an employer has to provide, as a minimum an `appointed persons’ at all times when employees are at work. An appointed person in the case can be a low level first aider or a fully trained First Aider.

Appointed persons will need to attend a one day training course to learn areas of first aid such as dealing with low level injuries such as cuts, sprains, heat exhaustion, assisting but not dealing with more serious injuries such as breaks, heart attacks etc.

A fully trained first aider at work will consist of completing a four day intensive course including a practical examination. On completion of both the training courses the delegate will receive a first aid certificate to prove their competence. First aiders at work should receive a payment from an employer for this task but this is not compulsory and this is at your employer’s discretion. The basic first aid provisions should be a good well stocked first aid kit which can be transported easily to the casualty. Requirements on all first aiders are to ensure all that first aid equipment is fully stocked, in good condition and the expiry dates all checked regularly, the easiest way of achieving this requirement is to compile a first aid box checklist.

All employers should firstly risk assess areas of working activities to define what level of first aider cover and equipment is required to fulfil the requirements of the assessment results. As an example a working area where the potential of an electrical shock from a mains supply to an employee would base the assessment of a high risk and the control measures would have to stipulate and ensure the adequate first aid control measures are in place. Another important step in this subject for employers is that they need to compile and communicate a suitable and sufficient policy to cover first aid and its provisions at work.

First aiders at work need to be retrained every three years by a competent service provider, appointed person should be retrained annually.

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