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10th October, 2019

Does My Business Need First Aid Training?

First aid training could save a life. In the most serious of cases, knowing what to do in a medical emergency could keep someone alive until an ambulance arrives. But in business, first aid isn't just a nice to have. It can be a legal requirement.

Every business should have suitable levels of first aid cover. You need enough first aiders to deal with a medical emergency if and when one happens. How likely that is will depend on your workplace. But, as we all know, accidents and illness can happen at any time. Not just in big businesses, but in small ones too. It only takes one person to fall ill to need medical attention. In an emergency medical situation, the delivery of first aid could quite literally be the difference between life and death.

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees, this includes ensuring that employees can receive immediate attention if they are injured, or taken ill, at work.

an employer shall provide, or ensure that there is provided, such number of suitable persons as is adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for rendering first-aid to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work; and for this purpose a person shall not be suitable unless he has undergone—

  1. such training and has such qualification as the Health and Safety Executive may approve for the time being in respect of that case or class of case, and
  2. such additional training, if any, as may be appropriate in the circumstances of that case.

Your workplace does not have to be a high risk for an accident to occur. If one did, what would you do? Of course, people will try to help, but they may not know what to do or take the wrong course of action.

Without first aid training, staff may panic and the actions of those attempting to help could make the situation worse. For example, applying a cream or ointment to a burn could cause more harm than good. Removing an embedded object could cause serious bleeding.

With first aid training nominated first aiders in your workplace can take appropriate action to help any person injured or suffering from a major illness. They will know what to do in a variety of medical emergencies. No guesswork. Just quick, decisive action.

A first aider is someone who has been trained by a competent first aid training provider in the delivery of first aid at work or emergency first aid at work and has the appropriate level of first aid training to provide first aid. Those with first aid training have the knowledge and skills to give the first response in an emergency, while you are waiting for medical professionals to arrive.

Importantly, having first aid skills and knowledge will reduce panic and confusion in a demanding medical situation.

cpr training
Learning CPR in first aid training

First aid training will give the nominated first aiders within your business the competency to deliver calm and safe first response at the scene. To become a qualified first aider, you would need to take a classroom-based course. This type of training provides a safe environment to practice life-saving first aid skills and understand how to manage an emergency. You can try out putting someone in the recovery position. Give a dummy CPR. Apply a bandage. Treat for shock.

There are two types of first aid course, and therefore two types of qualified first aider:

  • First Aid at Work
  • Emergency First Aid at Work

Find out more about the differences between these two types of first aider in A Guide To The Different Types Of First Aid Training Courses.

It is easy to see why every workplace needs first aid arrangement in place, even in small low-risk work environments there should be people appointed who know what to do in the event of an emergency. The level of first aid training you require will depend on your business, and your first aid needs assessment should take account of:

  • The hazards and risks present (higher risk environments need more training)
  • The workforce (number and vulnerability of your staff and visitors or clients)
  • The workplace (if your business has various sites they will all need appropriate first aid cover)

Of course, not everyone in your workplace needs to be first aid trained. The number of first aiders you will need depends on the number of people you need to cover, and the type of work you do. Start with a first aid needs assessment to decide if you have enough cover and record your findings.

In very low risk environments with only a small number of people, your first aid needs assessment might a qualified first aider is not necessary. In this case, you might choose to have an appointed person to take charge of first aid equipment and contacting the emergency services.

For more information see How Many First Aiders Do I Need? Low Vs High Risk Work.

Does your business need first aid training? Chances are, the answer is yes. First aid training will help you to comply with the law and create a safe environment within your workplace.


Full first aid training is usually carried out every three years. In-person first aid training can be found from a variety of providers throughout the UK.

If you need to refresh your first aid knowledge or want to become an appointed person, check out our online health and safety courses.

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This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

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