Health and Safety and First Aid Regulations

First Aid

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 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. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed.

In the event of injury or sudden illness, failure to provide first aid could result in a casualty’s death. The employer should ensure that an employee who is injured or taken ill at work receives immediate attention.

It is recommended that someone is able to undertake first aid duties at all times when people are at work.

Employers are required to carry out an assessment of first-aid needs. This involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what first-aid equipment, facilities and number of first aiders required.

Health and Safety

The HSE is the UK government body responsible for enforcing health and safety at work legislation. The HSE also plays a major role in producing advice on health and safety issues, and guidance on relevant legislation. The role of enforcement is split between HSE and local authorities depending on the business sector.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive, with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment. The Act requires:

  • safe operation and maintenance of the working environment, plant and systems
  • maintenance of safe access and egress to the workplace
  • safe use, handling and storage of dangerous substances
  • adequate training of staff to ensure health and safety
  • adequate welfare provisions for staff at work.

Employers must also keep and revise a written record of health and safety policy and consult with employees or their representatives on such policies (this only applies to those employing five or more).