So, having completed your First Aid Needs Assessment, you’ve decided to have some of your staff trained as first aiders, but what course should they be attending and how do you decide which training organisation to use?

There is no single mandatory training course for first aiders but 2 main courses are recommended for the purposes of the regulations: Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work.

Emergency First Aid at Work courses last a minimum of 6 hours contact time and cover the role of a first aider, assessing the scene of an incident, administering first aid to an unconscious casualty, seizure management, CPR, choking, bleeding, shock and minor injuries.

First Aid at Work courses last for a minimum of 18 hours contact time and cover the same content as Emergency First Aid at Work as well as injuries to bones, muscles and joints, chest injuries, burns and scalds, head injuries, poisoning, anaphylaxis and common medical conditions.

First Aid Trainers

The HSE stopped approving first aid courses in 2013 but still offers advice on what to look for when selecting a training provider. Probably the simplest way of making sure a course is up to scratch is to use a provider whose courses appear on a national qualifications framework, (the QCF or the SQCF in Scotland). You can find more information about this here.

Additional training may be required if, for example, employees are likely to come into contact with other hazards such as water (drowning) and extremes of heat and cold (hypothermia and
heatstroke). If your business provides early years childcare, you are likely to need a specialist paediatric first aid course in order to meet the requirements of your regulator.

First aid courses usually have a ‘licence to practice’ of 3 years, meaning that an update course should be booked before your current certificate expires. Holders of the 3 day First Aid at Work certificate can attend a 2 day (12 hour) requalification course in order to renew their certificate, but this should still cover the same content as the original 3 day course.

The HSE recommends that all first aiders attend an annual refresher course, covering scene safety, unconscious casualties, CPR, bleeding and shock.

So with all this training, what equipment should your first aiders have access to? Do they need bandages or tourniquets, safety pins or tape, how about specialised splints? Check out our courses for more info on first aid kits and equipment.