First aid at work: Why trained responders are essential

First aid at work: Why trained responders are essential
Alastair Barrett
Alastair BarrettWhat No Safety Services Ltd

Posted: Mon 13th May 2024

Having first aiders in your workplace is crucial for a variety of reasons.

They can respond quickly during emergencies, prevent workplace accidents and improve overall employee morale.

It's also a legal requirement for companies to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and first aid personnel.

What are the legal requirements?

  • First aid needs assessment: Businesses are required by law to conduct a first aid needs assessment. This assessment helps identify the specific risks and hazards present in the workplace and determines the level of first aid provision that is necessary

  • Minimum requirements: Every workplace must have an appointed person responsible for first aid, a stocked first aid kit and readily available information for employees about first aid arrangements

  • Appointed person: The appointed person does not require formal training but should be able to take charge of situations, look after first aid equipment and call the emergency services when needed

To ensure sufficient coverage, it's recommended to have multiple first aiders in case one is absent, especially if your business utilises a rota system or a hybrid working model. For example, if your only first aider is working from home two days a week, they won’t be able to help you in the workplace on those days should something happen.

Why do they matter?

Think of trained first aiders as your frontline defence in medical emergencies. Their swift and effective intervention can significantly impact the outcome of a situation. Here's how:

  • Golden minutes matter: The initial moments after a medical emergency are critical. Trained first aiders are equipped to respond immediately, providing basic life support measures like CPR and choking procedures. These interventions can stabilise the situation and buy precious time for emergency services to arrive

  • Mitigating the damage: Early assessment and intervention by a trained first aider can prevent minor injuries from escalating into serious complications. For instance, proper wound cleaning and bandaging can prevent infections and ensure faster healing times

  • Promoting a culture of safety: The presence of trained first aiders fosters a sense of security and trust among employees. Knowing that someone is equipped to handle medical emergencies reduces anxiety and allows employees to focus on their tasks with greater peace of mind

The role of a first aider extends beyond physical injuries. They can also provide initial support for employees experiencing sudden medical conditions like asthma attacks or allergic reactions. Additionally, they can recognise signs of mental health issues like stress or anxiety and offer calming techniques or direct employees to appropriate resources.

The ripple effect

The benefits of a strong first aid programme extend far beyond the immediate response to emergencies. Here's how it positively impacts your business:

  • Reduced downtime: Prompt medical attention can minimise the severity of injuries and illnesses, leading to faster recovery times and a reduced need for employee absences

  • Prevention: Having trained first aiders on staff can also help to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place as they can identify and eliminate potential hazards in the workplace

  • Improved employee morale: A company that prioritises employee wellbeing fosters loyalty and trust, leading to a more engaged and productive workforce. First aiders can also act as advocates for safety in the workplace, promoting best practices and encouraging their colleagues to prioritise health and wellbeing

  • Enhanced public image: Demonstrating a commitment to employee safety through a robust first aid programme reflects positively on your company's reputation

Investing in your most valuable asset

Training your employees in first aid is an investment in your greatest asset – your workforce. It's not just about fulfilling legal obligations, it's about creating a safe and secure work environment where employees feel valued and protected.

By empowering your staff with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively in emergencies, you're not only safeguarding their wellbeing but also demonstrating your commitment to fostering a positive and responsible work culture.

The minimum first aid provision in any workplace is:

  • A suitably stocked first aid kit

  • An appointed person to take charge of first aid requirements.

  • Information for employees about first aid arrangements

  • First aid box

Learning never stops

Regular training and refresher courses are essential for first aiders to maintain their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and guidelines.

Relevant resources

Alastair Barrett
Alastair BarrettWhat No Safety Services Ltd

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