What employers need to do
When making first-aid provisions in the workplace, you should consider your workforce and environment, as well as any Health and Safety risks that you may face.
As a minimum, you must have a suitably stocked first-aid kit and an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements.
If you have a small workforce of less than 10 people, then just a first-aid box and an appointed person may suffice. The appointed person would be responsible for ensuring the first-aid box is stocked and would be the person to call emergency services if an incident requires further assistance.
If you have a larger workforce, or your workforce uses machinery or hazardous substances, then you may need a trained first aider.
Regardless of the size or type of workplace, you must ensure that all employees are aware of what first-aid provisions and procedures you have in place.
A suitably stocked first-aid box, containing plasters, bandages, latex / non-latex gloves, tape and wound wash, may be sufficient for your workplace. Alternatively, you may need / want additional items such as foil blankets, scissors / material cutters and slings.
Also, depending on the size of your workforce and working environment, you may require more than one first-aid box.
Accidents, ill health and recording
If you have more than 10 employees, or own or occupy a factory, by law you must keep an accident book / record.
Under Health and Safety law, you must report and keep a record of certain injuries, incidents and cases of work-related disease, known as RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).
RIDDOR or not, all accidents and incidents should be recorded. This will help you to identify patterns in the incidences, but will also assist if your insurance company want to see your records if there is a work-related claim.
A client that I support recently had a RIDDOR. Their appointed person was a trained first aider but appeared to have forgotten their training in the heat of the moment; they fled the scene, failed to contact emergency services and wasn’t aware that they were required to record the accident.
Luckily, the RIDDOR was a dislocated shoulder and not life threatening! But it took a real-life incident to test the first-aider’s ability in action. You’ve heard of ‘Fight or Flight’ response, haven’t you?! Luckily, the Department Manager took control of the incident, and the injured employee was later taken to hospital.
Obviously, we never know how we will respond to a real-life incident, but this highlighted the importance of having adequately trained first aiders and regular refresher training.
For guidance and information on what accidents or incidents are reportable under RIDDOR, visit the Health and Safety Executive website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/