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First Aid Legal Requirements

First aid law and the legalities around first aid at work can be confusing. As a trusted provider of first aid courses, we're here to help.

Your responsibilities as an employer

Employers are legally required to arrange for the immediate care of any staff who have an accident or become ill while they are at work.

You must:

  • assess your first aid needs based on the hazards and risks involved in your workplace

  • provide appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill staff.

First aid law

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state that employers should provide adequate and appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill staff. 

The regulations only cover first aid arrangements for employees, but businesses that deal with members of the public (such as shops) should also consider this in their needs assessment. 

If you're self-employed, you should make appropriate first aid arrangements for your working environment (even if you work from home). If you work on a site with other self-employed people, you are each responsible for making your own first aid arrangements but may choose to make joint arrangements, subject to written agreement.

The full Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on first aid at work regulations is available on the HSE website.

Completing a needs assessment

You should assess your first aid needs based on the hazards and risks in your workplace, to help you determine how many first aiders you need and what training they should have. 

What should a needs assessment consider?

  • The size of your organisation – how many first aiders do you need?

  • The nature of your work – are your staff at risk of specific accidents or injuries?

  • If you have multiple sites – do they have different hazards, and how quickly can a first aider move between them (or do you need a first aider in each area)?

  • If you have any staff who:

    • have medical conditions – do you need specific training for these?

    • travel, work alone or remotely – do they need a mobile phone and first aid box in case of emergency?

    • work in shifts or out-of-hours – what arrangements do you need to make for each shift?

For advice on completing a needs assessment, visit the HSE website:

Role of the Health and Safety Executive

The HSE is not required to approve first aid training and qualifications, so employers are free to choose their own first aid training provider. You are responsible for ensuring the quality of training provider you choose.

Although no first aid at work courses from any provider are HSE accredited, the HSE provides a syllabus for appropriate content on a first aid at work course, in order to maintain high standards of first aid training. 

The HSE also provides a due diligence checklist to help employers select and evaluate a first aid training provider.

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