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First Aid training for the workplace. An employers guide (Part 1)
First Aid training for the workplace. An employers guide (Part 1)
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First Aid training for the workplace. An employers guide (Part 1)November 18th 2019

FACT: As an employer, you must provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure your employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 does require you to provide adequate first aid cover and this includes first aid supplies, people and equipment, but how do you know if you need an;

  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) course (Qualified first aider)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW) course (Qualified first aider)
  • Re-Qualification First Aid at Work (RFAW) course (Re-certifying first aider for FAW)
  • An Appointed person (AP) (NB. NOT a qualified first aider)

and does this need to be over 1, 2 or 3 days (did there not used to be 4 and even 5-day courses)?

In broad terms there are now 3 courses (see above. The Appointed person course was to all intents and purposes replaced in 2008 by the 1 day EFAW course by most companies) which broadly come under the banner of workplace first aid in the UK.

This, however, does not include other specialist subjects including (but not restricted to) paediatric first aid, Forestry first aid, Defibrillator (AED) training, Anaphylaxis and training, which can include a number of specific duties and requirements dependant on job type.

What’s in a name?

An Emergency first aider (EFAW) is a person who has been trained over a minimum of 6 hours, and this allows the first aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured, or becomes ill at work.

Full First Aid at Work (FAW) training covers the same syllabus, but is run over a minimum of 3 days (1 18 hours) and includes much more specific injuries such as; treatment of fractures, specific serious wounds and conditions such as Cerebro-Vascular-Accidents (CVA) or strokes, along with other such conditions including anaphylaxis, skull fractures, concussion, spinal injury management and much more.

The 2 day Re-Qualification First aid at Work (RFAW) covers the same syllabus as the 3 day FAW course, but is only open to current FAW first aiders nearing the end of their existing certification, and covers all the subjects contained within the 3 day course, although condensed, with much more student-centred learning.

Where however, an employer considers that they don’t need a first aider for the workplace, they can  appoint someone to look after first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the first aid boxes and equipment and calling the emergency services if required. In reality, this role has largely been discontinued since the advent of the EFAW courses when they were introduced in 2008.

To find out more, contact First Aid Scotland on 0800 0431 327, or 0141 248 4969 for more information.


First Aid training for the workplace. An employers guide (Part 1)
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Identifying competent first aid training providers for my staff

As an employer, you will need re-assurances that the company you choose to provide first aid is competent and qualified

First-aid training is available from a wide range of training providers.

These include:

  • Those offering nationally recognised, regulated qualifications in FAW and EFAW;
  • The self-regulated voluntary aid societies (St John Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid);
  • Those operating under trade accreditation schemes such as First Aid Scotland;
  • those who operate independently.

As an employer, you will need assurance that you have selected an appropriate training provider. You will, therefore, need to check that they meet the standards in a number of areas (due diligence). All training providers should be prepared to demonstrate that they:

  • are competent to deliver first-aid training;
  • have qualified trainers;
  • teach relevant course content in the correct way;
  • have the necessary quality assurance systems in place.Where you select a training provider offering regulated qualifications you will not need to do any due diligence to satisfy yourself of their competence.
    They operate under awarding organisations who are recognised by qualification regulators (Ofqual, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the Welsh Government) and have dedicated policies and quality assurance processes.
    The voluntary aid societies employ a similar hierarchy of policies and processes.
    Trade organizations such as the First Aid Industry Body (who First Aid Scotland are affiliated to) operate the same strict accreditation criteria demanded by the Health & Safety Executive, prior to them being disbanded in 2008.

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