The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state that adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel must be provided so that employees can receive immediate attention in case of injury or illness.
What is “adequate and appropriate” depends on the size of the organisation and the kind of hazards that are present. The minimum legal requirements, which would be suitable for a small workplace with low‑level hazards, are:
- A suitably‑stocked first aid kit
- Information for employees about first aid arrangements
- An appointed person in charge of first aid arrangements
Beyond these stipulations, employers must decide what first aid arrangements are needed for their employees.
The first aid kit
What should actually be in a first aid kit is not specified but, whilst there are no mandatory items for inclusion, a needs assessment will inform precisely what goes into the kit. Even a workplace with few hazards identified should have a first aid kit with a selection of plasters, bandages and other dressings.
Information for employees
How first aid information should be provided is also not stipulated by law. Employers may wish to display first aid notices to inform people where first aid equipment is located, the names and contact details of appointed persons or first aiders, and any other relevant information (e.g. the location of the first aid room, if there is one).
The appointed person
This is the person in charge of first aid arrangements. They look after any first aid equipment and facilities and are responsible for making calls to the emergency services when needed.
An appointed person does not need to be first aid‑trained, but they must provide first aid cover in cases where a first aider is absent from work (in an organisation that requires a qualified first aider).