The UK Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 makes it a legal requirement for employers to delegate a team of employees in the workplace to administer first aid. These selected employees need to complete first aid training to ensure they are confident and able to administer first aid when it is necessary. If your organisation does not designate and train a team of first aiders in the workplace, then the organisation could be subject to investigation from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
First aid in the workplace
It is your employer's responsibility to ensure health and safety is maintained in the workplace, and this involves appointing specific individuals as first aiders and investing in their training. The number of first aiders in the workplace will depend on the size of your organisation, the larger the organisation, the more first aiders you will need to appoint.
If your employer fails to delegate a team of first aiders in the workplace, they are neglecting the UK Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and this must be reported to the HSE.
If your organisation does not provide first aid it can have a damaging affect on the morale of the employees. Ultimately, employees will feel undervalued if their safety is not prioritised by the employer and this could encourage workers to leave and find a better workplace environment.
First aid training
The chosen employees responsible for first aid will be enrolled into a first aid training course. The first aid training course must be specific to your type of workplace environment. There are low-risk first aid courses and high-risk first aid courses for workplace environments which are more hazardous, such as laboratories handling hazardous chemical substances.
First aid training will teach the chosen employees how to identify specific illnesses and injuries, how to use life-saving skills and how to use a first aid kit appropriately. Moreover, these trained first aiders will be responsible for ensuring the first aid kits are maintained.
When an organisation fails to comply with UK health and safety legislation, the consequences can be severe. The HSE reported that the total amount of fines handed out for health and safety offences rose to £72.6 million in 2017/18, this was following a rise in the amount of fines handed out to UK organisations across two years.
The HSE has the power to investigate organisations which they suspect are not adhering to health and safety standards. Following an investigation, if there is sufficient evidence that the employer has neglected first aid and health and safety, then the HSE can prosecute the organisation. Prosecution and fines will ultimately tarnish the reputation of an organisation and can affect the way people perceive the company in the future.
If an injury occurs in the workplace and your organisation does not have trained first aiders on site, the injured individual could become seriously hurt as a result. Therefore, by having qualified and trained first aiders in the workplace, you can reduce the effects which incidents can have on the wellbeing of those around you.