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First Aid Legislation

First Aid & The Law (ACOP L74) - United Kingdom

Extracts taken from HSE First Aid at Work The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. The document is commonly known as L74 (Third Edition) Published 2013.

This guidance is for employers. It sets out what you need to do to address first-aid provisons in the workplace. The third edition takes into account of the amendment to regulation 3(2), which removes the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel, and to incorporate some additional amendments brought about by other legislative changes.
These Regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with fewer than five employees.

The relevant and salient regulations are:

ACOP 3(1)
“An employer shall provide, or ensure that there are provided, such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first-aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work”.

ACOP 3(2)  
"An employer shall provide, or ensure that there is provided, such number of suitable persons as is adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for rendering first aid to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work; and for this purpose a person shall not be suitable unless he has undergone such training and has such qualifications as may be appropriate in the circumstances of that case".

ACOP 3(4)
“An employer should make an assessment of first-aid needs appropriate to the circumstances (hazard and risks) of each workplace”.

ACOP 3(6)
"Where an employer provides first aiders in the workplace, they should ensure thay have undertaken suitable training, have an appropriate first aid qualification and remain competant to perform their role. Typically, first aiders will hold a valid certificate of competence in either first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW). EFAW training enables a first aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill at work. FAW training incldes EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses. These are listed in the full HSE document in paragraphs 52-73.

This guidance is written to reflect the optional four-layer framework for firts aid provision that has been in place for many years. The framework will help employers to comply with the Regulations by providing 'off-the-peg' levels of provision. These layers are:

  • appointed person (AP)
  • emergency first aid at work (EFAW)
  • first aid at work (FAW)
  • additional training

You may choose not to use the optional framework and use alternative means to demonstrate compliance with your needs assessment. The thinking behind this guidance, however, applies equually to whatever level of training you choose (unless alternative guidance is provided for specific instances)."

ACOP 3(27)
Annual leave, holiday and other absences of first aiders and appointed persons
"It is essential that adequate provision is made to cover all times people are at work. Employers therfore need to ensure there is cover for annual leave or holiday and other planned absences of firts aiders or appointed persons. Employers should also consider what cover is needed for unplanned and exceptional absences such as sick leave or special leave due to bereavement."

ACOP 3(52) First Aiders
“Where the first aid assessment identifies a need for people to be available for rendering first aid, the employer should ensure that they are provided in sufficient numbers and at appropriate locations to enable first aid to be administered without delay should the occasion arise. Where 25 or more people are employed, even in low hazard environments at least one such person should be provided."

ACOP 3(53) How many first aiders are needed?
"The findings of the first aid needs assessment will help the how many first aiders are required? There are no stamdard rules on exact numbers as employers will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of their particular workplace.

ACOP 3(54)
"After completing the checklist in table 1, the flow chart in appendix 3 (see below) serves as a general guide on how many first aiders or appointed persons might be needed. The numbers quoted in Appendix 3 are a suggestion only. The employer shuld take into account all relevant information to make a valid judgement."

ACOP 3(55)
"When selecting someone to take up the role of a first aider, a number of factors need to be taken into account, including an idividual's: 
• Reliability, disposition and communication skills;
• Aptitude and ability to absorb new knowledge and learn new skills;
• Ability to cope with stressful and physically demanding emergency procedure;
• Normal Duties. These should be such that they may be left to go immediately and rapidly to an emergency."

ACOP 3(68) Certificates
"For an individual to demonstrate they have a competance in first aid they hold a certificate that contains all of the following minimum information:

  • name of training organisation;
  • name of qualification;
  • name of individual; 
  • a validity period for three years from date of course completion;
  • an indication that the certificate has been issued for the purposes of complying with the certificate regulations1981;
  • a statement that teaching was delivered in accordance with current accepted first aid practice; and
  • if the qualification is neither FAW or EFAW, an outline of the topics covered (this may be on the reverse or as an appendix)."

ACOP 3(72) Additional training needs
"When arranging FAW or EFAW or other equivalent training, employers should let the training organisation know of any particular hazards at theor workplace so training can be tailored to meet those needs."

ACOP 3(74) Certificate validity, requalification and refresher training
"All first aid training certificates, whether FAW, EFAW or some other appropriate training, are valid for three years. Employers need to arrange retraining before certificates expire. The FAW requalification course lasts two days and should cover the same content as the initial FAW course. If the first aider does not retrain or requalify before the expiry date on their current certificate they are no longer considered competent to act as a first aider in the workplace. They can requalify at any time after the expiry date by undertaking the two day requalification course. However, it may be prudent to complete the three day FAW course, especially where a considerable period - i.e. in excess of one month - has elapsed since the FAW certificate expired. It's for the employer to decide the most appropriate training course to requalify the first aider. An EFAW requalification course should be of the same duration and content as the initial EFAW course."

ACOP 3 (75)
"HSE strongly recommends that first aiders undertake annual refresher training during any threee year FAW/EFAW certification period. Although not mandatory, this will help qualified first aiders maintain their basic skills and keep up to date with any changes to first aid prcedures. Appendix 7 (in full HSE document) contains suggested course content for annual refresher training, although HSE does not specify the design of these courses."
ACOP 3 (76)
"Employers should encourage first aiders to regularly review their course manual and other instruction material and allocate them time to do this. It will further help maintain their first aid skills."

ACOP 3(77)
"Employers shoud keep a record of first aiders and certification dates to help with timely arrangement of further training."

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