First aid

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide “adequate and appropriate” equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given.

Volunteers and unpaid workers are categorised as ‘employees’ and so adequate provision should be provided.

Minimum requirements

As an employer you must provide:

  • A suitably stocked first aid box and the first aid box should at least contain the following items:
    • A leaflet giving general first aid guidance (for example, HSE's leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work);
    • Individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings (plasters);
    • Sterile eye pads;
    • Individually wrapped sterile triangular bandages;
    • Safety pins;
    • Medium and large individually wrapped un-medicated wound dressings;
    • Pair of disposable gloves;

Tablets and medicines should not be in a first aid box.

  • An appointed person to take care of first aid arrangements. This person should take charge when someone suffers illness or injury, including calling an ambulance. They must also ensure that the first aid equipment and facilities are adequate. This person should always be available at all times, and duties should be appointed to cover for absence and holidays;
  • Notices informing employees where the first aid box is located and who is the appointed person is;
  • A trained first aider if the workplace gives rise to special hazards. The level of training undertaken should be identified in the first aid needs assessment. Typically, this will be either first aid at work (FAW) training or emergency first at work (EFAW) training. However, there may also be some other level of first-aid training, outside the usual framework. Refresher training courses are needed every three years to maintain First Aid at Work competence and accreditation. To keep up basic skills, HSE recommends that all First Aiders attend annual refresher training. There are several providers of training and the HSE offers guidance on selecting a first aid training provider: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis3.pdf

For more information and help with your assessment visit www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/index.htm