What you need to consider when deciding on first-aid needs in a workplace
When arranging first aid in the workplace, employers must ensure that equipment, facilities and personnel are available to treat injuries or illnesses likely to arise at work. What is sufficient will depend on the circumstances. A formal assessment of first-aid needs is required to determine the appropriate level of provision. It should consider:
Sufficient provision should always be available when employees are at work. Separate arrangements may be required for each shift, and for ‘out of hours’ working. Adequate arrangements for covering both planned absences (e.g. annual leave) and unplanned absences (e.g. sickness) of first-aiders and appointed persons.
Where a site is remote from emergency medical services, special transport arrangements may be required. The emergency services should be informed in writing of the location of remote sites and any particular circumstances, including specific hazards. On a site with more than one building, if the travel distance between buildings is unreasonable, separate first aid provision may be required in each building. Numbers and locations of first-aiders or appointed persons in a multi-storey building should give adequate provision to employees on each floor. On a shared or multi-occupied site, employers can arrange for one employer to take responsibility for providing first-aid cover for all the workers.
Activities carried out
The general risk assessment is useful in assessing first-aid needs. Understanding the nature of an accident or injury if preventive or control measures fail can help in determining the necessary first-aid. In large or multi-site organisations historical accident data may be useful in determining where first-aiders should be located, what area they should be responsible for and what first-aid equipment is necessary.
Number of workers
A larger workforce generally has a greater need for first-aid provision. This should be determined by the risk assessment and assessment of needs. Think about the needs of young workers, trainees, pregnant workers and employees with disabilities or particular health problems.