Health And Safety At Work

Safety and Sense at Work

If you have just started a business in your spare room at home, or in the garage, maybe involved with computers for ten hours every day, first aid isn’t likely to be a priority in your mind, (but safety and the health of people at work is important).

The HSE see things rather differently. Every employer, and that would include you, having just employed yourself (?), has a responsibility to “assess the hazards and risks in your work place, and establish an appropriate level of first aid provision.”

Some would agree without hesitation, some would groan inwardly and accuse it of being an organ of the nanny state, though few would argue against statutory first aid availability on say, a construction site, or timber yard.

The key word is “assess”. The risk of accidents are obviously going to be higher in, for instance, a busy yard, with lorries and forklifts constantly moving, than in an office with three people working on keyboards, assess and respond accordingly is the HSE message.

The need for first aid to be present may seem an anathema, but its presence is there for two reasons, both of which no-one wants, but no-one knows when or if they may be around, and they are accident or illness.

Accidents, by their very definition arrive unexpectedly, and often need fast response. Illness can arrive at any hour of the day, and should it be at work, again, it will require response or assistance.

This is why the HSE “require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.”

Every workplace must have someone appointed to be responsible for first aid, however small or low risk the business is. For low risk areas such as shops or office type environment, up to around 25 employees simply need a nominated person to be responsible for the first aid equipment, and be competent of calling emergency services if required. Formal training is not statutory.

For up to 50 workers, it is recommended that a first aider is trained in at least emergency first aid, and for numbers higher, that a first aider be trained to FAW, first aid at work level, which is a comprehensive three day course, and that one FAW per 100 employees be available. Need training for your staff?

Higher risk activities such as construction, warehousing, light engineering, carry similar recommendations, but applicable to half of the numbers above, meaning that you would need a FAW trained person for every 50 employees.