Health and safety gone sensible?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is
helping businesses save time and money by
simplifying the first aid at work regulation guidance from 1
October – the first changes for over 25 years.
However with more injuries occurring in offices
than on construction sites, companies are being warned to be
realistic of their risks.
Offices potentially more dangerous than building sites
Each year six million days are lost to
workplace injury and there are 180 workplace deaths.
Disappointingly, leading first aid charity St John Ambulance found
that compliance to first aid at work regulations was at a minimum,
with 79% of businesses saying they had times when no first aider is
The new advice makes it clear what is required of businesses in terms of a risk assessment.
St John Ambulance Commercial Marketing Director
Since the last alterations to the
regulations in 1981 workplaces have changed. Refreshingly
the HSE has listened to businesses to make it
easier for them to understand what is needed and to comply.
Richard Evens, Commercial Marketing Director
at St John Ambulance, which was involved in the HSE consultation,
says: ‘It really is a case of health and safety “gone sensible”.
The HSE has realised that it was hard for businesses to comply
without compromising their bottom line. The new advice makes it
clear what is required of businesses in terms of a risk assessment
and now the first aid training is shorter so businesses get
staff back quicker without losing any vital life saving
From our own research** we’ve found that nearly half of the
first aid incidents in the office involved giving life saving CPR
to a colleague, compare to just 21% of incidents on a building site
which is usually seen as higher risk.’
With the new changes:
- staff taking the main First aid at
work qualification will only be away from work for three days
instead of four (learning the same key knowledge but in a more
interactive, streamlined way)
- businesses are being given the choice of an
even shorter one-day qualification if they determine that less
first aid knowledge is needed in their workplace
- first aiders are strongly recommended by
the HSE to attend a three hour annual refresher to keep life saving
- the HSE estimates savings in the first year
of the new regime to be £52 million.
The other big change is that instead of the
traditional low, medium and high risk bands which determine how
many first aiders a business should have, companies are being
advised to carry out a risk assessment to determine what is right
for their own workplace.
St John Ambulance has set up online risk assessment tools on their website to
guide customers through the changes and help them calculate the
level of risk in their business and which courses to choose.
*2,800 businesses were surveyed
**3, 500 trained first aiders were asked by St John Ambulance what
incidents they faced