The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide suitable first-aid equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. The HSE has produced a review of and amendment to these regulations, which came into force on 1st October 2009.
In summary the amendments make changes to the training for first aiders and increase the focus on assessment of risk to identify numbers and type of first aiders needed.
The First Aid at Work course (previously 4 days) is now a 3 day, 18 hour course with an assessment, which enables first aiders to work in high risk areas and in those areas with large numbers of visitors. The re-qualification for this course remains a two day course with an assessment to be taken every 3 years.
The new Emergency First Aid qualification is a one day, 6 hour course with an assessment which trains a first aider to be qualified in first aid in low risk category areas only. An annual refresher course or Basic Skills Update, a half day course, is also strongly recommended.
There is also a requirement for first aiders to receive any extra training that is relevant to the extra risks involved in the job – therefore those working in an area using chemicals may need to carry out some further training into the treatment of injuries caused by exposure to these chemicals.
In order to ensure that the University complies with the new guidance a full assessment was carried out considering the level of risk involved in the work and the people who are present in the area, and those who may need further help if first aid were required. The assessment also takes account of those members of the public and students who could be present on site.
The recommended process of risk analysis by building leads to a more appropriate spread of the numbers and levels of first aiders across campus. This also makes reassessment easier when changes are made to departments or to building occupancy. The numbers of first aiders is decided based on the number of staff in a building and the levels of risk associated with the activities in that location, as well as taking account of holiday cover or unforeseen absences. Peripatetic workers needs are also considered and guidance provided as to provision of personal first aid kits for those working away from campus or overseas.
The HSE recommendations are that there should be 1 first aider per 100 staff in low risk buildings and per 50 staff in high risk buildings.
The numbers of staff and the levels of risk for each building were identified and the appropriate numbers of first aiders defined.
To take into account the numbers of students in high risk areas this should be supplemented by an equal number of emergency first aiders. In higher risk areas where there are peripatetic workers or lone workers these staff should also be trained as EFAW.
All departments should consider how to ensure that there is cover at all times the building is in operation. This may mean that where staff work late into an evening at least one of them has some level of first aid training and that shift patterns reflect this.
All first aiders are expected to provide assistance where required in the university, either in their own building or in one close by and in order to provide access to first aid when it is needed.
Within the University there is the added benefit of the on site security staff who are all first aid trained, however it should be understood that they may not always be available due to other incidents that may occur on campus.
An annual refresher as recommended by the HSE is to be offered to qualified first aiders. In areas where there are specific hazards and dedicated first aid training can be provided it will be made available. Any extra training that is relevant to the extra risks involved in the job – therefore those working in an area using chemicals may need to carry out some further training into the treatment of injuries caused by exposure to these chemicals.
The H,S&W website has a section for first aiders only where additional guidance and online training can be provided.
There is a full list of first aiders and their locations held by the H&S dept and available on the website.