Are you meeting the new First Aid at Work Guidelines?

Every business should have a first aid policy for the workplace. Here are the key points worth noting when considering First Aid at Work. 

What is first aid at work?

Every workplace should have a first aid policy in place. Employees can be taken ill or suffer injuries at any time, so it is important to give them immediate attention. Even a low-risk workplace such as an office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements.

What do I need to do as an employer?

Accidents and illness can happen at any time. Provision for first aid needs to be available at all working times. It is your responsibility to ensure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill. You must make appropriate first aid arrangements for your business, considering the circumstances of your workplace and the potential health and safety risks that may be present. 

What should I consider when assessing first-aid needs?

One of the more complicated areas of the new first aid needs assessment is considering ‘the nature of the work, the hazards, and the risks’. As an employer, you should consider the risks and identify possible injuries that could occur to ensure that you provide the correct type of first aider(s). Appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and people vary depending on the size of the workplace. There are now two levels of workplace first aider, the Emergency First Aider at Work (EFAW) and a First Aider at Work (FAW). Not all workplaces will need both, but you should ensure that your first aiders are trained to deal with the injuries and illnesses that could occur.

What should I put in the first-aid box?

There is no mandatory list of first-aid items. The minimum level of first aid equipment is a suitably stocked first aid box, which varies depending on the size of the business. Your needs assessment may indicate that additional materials and equipment are required and will also assess how many first aiders/appointed persons will be needed.

What information should I provide for employees?

It is imperative that you inform your employees of the first aid arrangements you have put in place. Many employers find it useful to put up notices telling staff who and where the first aiders or appointed persons are, and where the first aid box is.

Remember to make special arrangements to give first aid information to employees with reading or language difficulties.

Information on first aid at work is available of the first-aid web pages of HSE’s website:

Amanda Finn can be contacted at