Responsibilities of employers include:

  • appointing a competent person to help you meet your health and safety duties
  • writing a health and safety policy (if you have fewer than five employees, this doesn’t need to be written down)
  • consulting your employees on health and safety
  • providing training for your employees on how to work safely
  • displaying the health and safety law poster, or provide each employee with the health and safety pocket card
  • completing a risk assessment
  • providing adequate and appropriate first aid provision
  • ensuring that in the event of fire, there is a sufficient number of competent persons to implement emergency procedures
  • reporting any incidents of specified injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences, and keep appropriate records of any incidents.


Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc., the employer is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of employees. Where the workplace is a school, the employer could be the Local Authority, the governing body, or the owner or trustees, depending on the type of school.

Employers are not legally obliged to provide first aid for anyone other than their own employees, but schools also have legal responsibilities for those in their care. Schools should consider carefully the likely risks to pupils and visitors, making allowances for them when drawing up policies and completing risk assessments.

First aid regulations

First aid in the workplace is covered by The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and guidance documents L74 and GEIE3. Under these regulations, employers have an obligation to make adequate and appropriate first aid provision for their workforce.


Fire safety regulations

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the sole piece of legislation for fire safety issues. The focus of the order is fire prevention. The local fire and rescue authority, the Health and Safety Executive, or other relevant local authority remains the enforcing authority.

Under the order, the ‘responsible person’ for the premises must carry out a fire risk assessment and nominate a sufficient number of competent persons (fire marshals) to assist in implementing the emergency procedures identified in the fire risk assessment.

Completing a risk assessment

The first aid and fire marshal cover you need will depend on the type of workplace and level of risk.

You are required by law to complete a risk assessment.

Help completing a risk assessment


Reporting incidents

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

More information on incident reporting


Choosing the right first aid training provider

In England, Wales, and Scotland, there is no legal requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve training providers, meaning employers have greater flexibility to choose first aid training based on their individual business needs. In Northern Ireland, you still need to ensure you use a Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland-approved training provider for your workplace first aid courses.

Employers should undertake due diligence of a training provider to ensure they are competent in first aid and have the necessary quality assurance processes in place.

St John Ambulance is the UK’s leading first aid organisation. We teach more people from more businesses and organisations than any other provider. Our workplace first aid training will always meet the standards set by the Health and Safety Executive.


You could be liable

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007) means companies can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter because of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

Find out more about the Corporate Manslaughter Act

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