All employers are responsible for making sure any employees that are injured at work are treated quickly and in the correct manner.
Accidents and illnesses can happen at any time and first aid can often save lives. Which is why first aid for businesses is so important.
Businesses need to make sure that appropriate first aid arrangements are in place. This will also involve an extensive risk assessment of the dangers of your particular workplace, which will inform you about any specific first aid requirements you may need.
For smaller businesses, first aid provision will involve having a well-stocked, clearly-marked and easily-accessed first aid box. It also means having someone who is in charge of first aid and can take control of the situation if an accident does occur. As most small businesses don’t have the capacity for in-house training, it may mean sending one or two employees on an external first aid course. In addition, according to the outcome of your first aid assessment, you will need to make sure that adequate information is provided for all other employees, in case of emergency.
As mentioned above, the very minimum requirement is a fully-stocked first aid kit on the premises at all times. However, depending on the size and nature of your workplace, you may need to provide more than one. The kit should include all the basic first aid equipment, as well as any site-specific treatments. The contents need to be checked regularly, re-stocked if used and a record kept of any use-by dates that may affect the performance of the equipment.
If your safety assessment identifies that a qualified first aider is not required on site, then you must appoint a person to be in charge of looking after the kit and being responsible for calling the emergency services, if needed. This person does not necessarily have to have any formal training but they must be clear about their responsibilities.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) of 2013 stipulate that you must keep a record of certain injuries and incidents in the workplace as part of your first aid policy. This will help you to identify patterns of accidents that occur in the workplace and help you to address these issues in the future.
The main points that have been outlined above are enshrined in UK law, specifically the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations from 1981. These require employers to provide ‘adequate and appropriate equipment’ and that employees receive immediate attention in the case of an incident. These regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with five people or less.
For more information about your first aid responsibilities as a business, visit the HSE website and check out the ‘First aid’ section under the ‘Guidance’ tab. There are also first aid courses designed to suit your business available from the British Red Cross, who train over 100,000 people every year at 180 venues across the UK.