Under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, an employer has a duty to ‘provide or ensure that there is adequate first-aid provision for their employees if they are injured or become ill at work’. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on the implementation of these Regulations is provided in First aid at work, The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981: Guidance on Regulations and in First Aid at Work: Your questions answered.
The level of first-aid provision (i.e. facilities and personnel) an employer has to provide depends on the circumstances in each workplace, and an assessment of the first-aid needs should be undertaken. An appointed person is required in every workplace; they do not need to be a qualified first-aider. They should maintain the equipment e.g. first-aid box and in an emergency they will find a trained first-aider or call an ambulance if required. An appointed person should only administer first aid appropriate to their level of training. A first-aider is someone who has undergone training and has a valid certificate of competence in first aid at work (FAW) training or emergency first aid at work (EFAW) training, or other training specific to the workplace. Certificates are valid for three years, however it is recommended first-aiders have an annual refresher. The Health and Safety Executive no longer (since 2013) approves providers for first aid training, however there is HSE guidance to help employers select first aid training providers.
Dental practitioners and dental care professionals are required to undertake regular CPD training in the management of medical emergencies within the dental environment. However, this does not equate to a formal first aid at work qualification.
Assess the first-aid needs of the practice and, to comply with legislation, appoint a qualified first-aider and/or an ‘appointed person’ to take charge of the necessary first-aid arrangements, including:
- maintaining a fully stocked first-aid box that is suitable for the number of staff in the practice (it is recommended that this does not contain medication);
- provide first aid to the level of their training when required
- calling emergency services when required.
NB: Although there is not a legal requirement for all employers to appoint and train a first-aider, it is advisable to do so.
Ensure that there is suitable first-aid provision to cover annual leave, planned and unplanned absences.
Keep a written register of first-aiders and appointed persons, the area they are responsible for, and their training.
Include information for staff on first-aid arrangements in the practice Health and Safety Policy.
Display a notice indicating the names of appointed persons or first-aiders and the location of first aid equipment.