First Aid Legal Requirements

First aid in the workplace is vital and by law, employers must provide “adequate and appropriate” equipment, facilities and number of first aiders. Despite how vague this statement sounds, there is lots of information out there to help companies prepare. To understand what your first aid needs are, a risk assessment must be completed for each area of work and each role that an employee takes part in.

first aid cpr

What is a Risk Assessment?

A large part of a workplace risk assessment is identifying all potential hazards to an employee or their health. This can include certain tasks, equipment and substances on-site. You may find it helpful to look at incident and illness reports that have been made previously and walking around each workspace yourself.

HSE advise that you should…

“show from your risk assessment that;
• a proper check was made
• all people who might be affected were considered
• all significant risks have been assessed
• the precautions are reasonable
• the remaining risk is low
You do not need to include insignificant risks. You do not need to include risks from everyday life unless your work activities increase the risk”.

It should cover all cover all of the groups of people that are at risk, including visitors and disabled workers.

first aid kit


The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is the non-departmental public body that is responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare and for research into occupational risks.

HSE advice on risk management can be found here
Example risk assessments can be found here

Work First Aid Courses

In construction sites, maintenance workplaces and other high-risk environments, trained first-aiders are required. They must have taken a course that meets principles of assessment given by the HSE, including emergency protocol. There are plenty of reputable providers around that can do in-house or external first aid training courses, such as St John Ambulance and the Red Cross.

Activities usually include topics such as bleeding, burns, choking, defibrillators, CPR, shock, unresponsive persons and managing an emergency. Trainees must pass an assessment at the end of the course to gain the certificate they need. These emergency first aid courses are usually 1 day but longer courses and refreshers can be taken for extra piece of mind.

Although there is no set legal guideline to say how many first-aiders you need in the workplace, the HSE advises that there should at least be one trained person for every 50 people you employ. However, there needs to be a sufficient amount, including when that one person is off-sick or on holiday.

View St John Ambulance courses here