First Aid at Work
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 obligate an employer to provide adequate equipment, facilities and trained personnel to treat ill or injured employees. This includes self-employed people and workplaces with less than five workers. It is the employer’s obligation to ensure that anybody injured or taken ill at work receives immediate medical attention.
What are adequate first aid facilities?
The level of first aid facilities will differ for each workplace, so employers should assess their first aid needs in order to know what they should provide to ensure their workplace meets legal regulations. For example, offices where the manner of work provides low risk of injury will require a first aid box and one person delegated to notify emergency services should a serious incident take place. In contrast, a construction site with lots of heavy machinery will have far greater health and safety risks, and first aid facilities must be sufficient to deal with a greater chance of serious injury.
Some workplaces may need a proportion of their staff to be trained first aiders in the event of accidents or illness. Other workplaces, with greater hazards, may require a room and employees dedicated to giving first aid. It is the employer’s responsibility to assess the risks and the level of first aid that they will require. Should they fail to do so, and an accident occurs, they could be held responsible for any resulting death or injury.
Ultimately, it is down to the employer to ensure there are adequate first aid facilities for their workplace, and it is also up to them to communicate with all employees the health and safety risks and first aid procedures. An employee should make sure they fully understand these procedures and carry out the training that the employer provides. Depending on the working environment, employees may be required to train in first aid and could be responsible for administering treatment to ill or injured colleagues.