Holiday first aid cover

First aid training in the workplace

With staff summer holidays approaching have you made sure your workplace will still have adequate first aid cover?

Absent first aiders

According to St John Ambulance *79% of businesses have periods where there are no trained first aiders present. This figure can increase during the summer when a large proportion of staff, including nominated workplace first aiders, take annual leave.

Compliance

The law demands that all workplaces must comply with Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. Employers are required to have adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and staff in place to enable first aid to be given at work.

Consequences of not complying

A trained first aider has often been the difference between a life lost and a life saved so all types of workplace environments need to ensure they are prepared. In some cases if there is a fatality because the employer failed to ensure proper health and safety procedures were in place, he or she could be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

...often employers can overlook the fact that it’s their first aiders who could be the most missed if a serious accident happens and they’re not there to deal with it.

Richard Evens
Director of Training and Marketing, NHQ, London

Advice for employers

Richard Evens, Director of Training and Marketing said: 'Summer is the time when more staff go off on holiday than usual and often employers can overlook the fact that it’s their first aiders who could be the most missed if a serious accident happens and they’re not there to deal with it. This can especially be the case in small businesses with very few employees, where there may be only one first aider.

'St John Ambulance advises that you carry out a risk assessment based on your business needs, which covers things such as first aider annual leave, the common injuries that happen in your workplace and shift work. The Health and Safety Executive require that once you’ve identified your first aid needs you must maintain it, so it’s vital that businesses keep this in mind and ensure the necessary arrangements are made.'

*2,800 businesses were surveyed by St John Ambulance in September 2009