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How many First Aiders?

Tim Cook
Tim Cook

Tim Cook, Founder and Lead Trainer at Custom Training provides us with information on the importance of using the correct first aid to suit the situation whether affecting mental or physical health.

Having the correct first aid provision in your workplace is not only a legal requirement, it’s incredibly important for the safety of you and your employees. However, we know that it can be difficult to determine exactly how many first aiders you need, and what type of training they require.

This article should help you answer those questions and covers both physical and mental health first aid requirements.

The Law

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, require employers to…

“Provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.”

So what does this mean? Well, it means that as an employer, you are best placed to work out what’s ‘adequate and appropriate’.

It’s worth noting at this point that the Health and Safety Executive strongly recommend that employers also provide cover for non-employees, including the public and other visitors.

Needs Assessment

So how do you know what’s required? You complete a First Aid Needs Assessment.

This process is much like any other risk assessment. You identify the hazards and calculate the risks before deciding what control measures are required. Needs assessments should be regularly reviewed (usually annually) or when there are any significant changes to the business.

Hazards and Risks

The hazards and risks for your workplace will depend on:

  • The nature of the work you do
  • Specific workplace hazards, such as machinery
  • The nature and size of your workforce
  • The work patterns of your staff
  • Holiday and other absences of those who will be first-aiders
  • Your organisation’s history of accidents

You may also need to consider:

  • The needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
  • The geographical distribution of your workforce
  • The remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
  • Whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
  • First-aid provision for non-employees (public and visitors)

Control Measures

Once you’ve considered the risks, you can then decide what first aid control measures should be put in place. These normally consist of deciding:

  • How many trained first aiders are required
  • What level of training is required
  • What first aid equipment is required
  • Whether a first aid room is required

Mental Health First Aid Requirements

Now that physical health has been considered, it is equally important to assess mental health first aid needs.

We all have mental health, and just like our physical health, it can go wrong.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. ‘Mixed anxiety and depression’ has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.

Certain sectors face a bigger problem than others. For instance, male site workers in construction are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average UK male. It’s unknown what the size of the problem is in the vehicle dismantling industry.

HSE Guidance

As mental health first aid has only just arrived at the employee wellbeing party, the HSE don’t provide guidance on numbers of trained people. However, they do say that:

“You should consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees… [including] appointing mental health trained first aiders…”

Mental health first aid training teaches delegates how to recognise the warning signs of mental ill health and helps them to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone, while keeping themselves safe.

It’s always good to understand the importance of keeping your first aid training requirements up to date in the workplace whether it concerns your physical or mental health.

If you’d like to know more about first aid or mental health first aid through Custom Training, visit www.custom-training.co.uk or send them an email at hello@custom-training.co.uk, alternatively call 0333 5777 976.

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