All employers have a duty of care to make sure they have adequate first aid provision on their premises whether it is a school, office block or building site. How many employees are trained in first aid depends on the number of people on any site.
However, should you just stop there and only train the number of employees in first aid that you legally have to? Or in fact, is it a better idea to offer first aid training to as many of your employees as you can? What are the benefits of having more first aid trained staff and is it worth the additional cost of training?
Your legal responsibilities
The Health and Safety Regulations (1981) state that as an employer, you are bound by law to ensure that there are “adequate and appropriate” first aid equipment, facilities and number of qualified first aid trained staff on your premises to ensure your employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. This means employers need to make sure they have enough trained first aiders amongst their staff. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed.This means employers need to make sure they have enough trained first aiders amongst their staff. However, “adequate and appropriate” are quite vague terms. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend that if you have between 5-50 employees then you should have at least 1 first aid trained member of staff and another one for every extra 50 staff you employ. However, you should always conduct a thorough risk assessment to determine whether your work premises can be classed as “high risk” and may benefit from additional first aid trained staff members.
All workplaces should also have an “appointed person” whose responsibility it is to ensure all first aid equipment is kept maintained and well stocked. It is also their responsibility to phone for an ambulance in an emergency.
The benefits of training more staff in first aid
While you are not legally obliged to train more staff in first aid, there are definite benefits in doing so. Depending on the size of your premises, your first aider may have to travel some distance to reach the patient and this delay can have disastrous consequences. In an emergency, the most basic first aid can be potentially life-saving and having staff members close at hand who can perform that first aid could be the difference between life and death.
Ensuring that you have plenty of staff with first aid qualifications also ensures that you will always have a trained first aider on site should any of your other trained employees need to be off sick. This way you are ensuring the health and safety of your staff while making sure that you are fulfilling your legal requirements should you face unforeseen staff sick days.
Providing your staff with the opportunity to further their skills and attend first aid training also shows them that you are invested in them as a workforce and this will boost morale. With a happy workforce having been proven to be a more productive workforce, it’s a win-win situation.