Emergency First Aid at Work: What You Need to Know

Emergency First Aid at Work: What You Need to Know

Emergency First Aid at Work: What You Need to Know


Accidents and emergencies can happen at any time and in any place. Whether you're at home, at work, or out in public, having the knowledge and skills to provide emergency first aid can make a crucial difference in saving lives. In the UK, it's essential for both employers and employees to understand the basics of emergency first aid at work. In this post, we'll explore what you need to know about emergency first aid in the workplace, including the key responsibilities, training requirements, and essential skills.


Key Responsibilities

  1. Employer's Responsibility: According to the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, employers in the UK are legally required to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities, and personnel in the workplace. This includes ensuring that there are trained first aiders available, depending on the size and nature of the workforce.
  2. First Aider's Responsibility: If you are designated as a first aider at work, your responsibilities include:                                                       
    • Providing immediate assistance to anyone who is injured or becomes ill at work.
    • Assessing the situation and taking appropriate action.
    • Administering first aid treatments such as CPR, wound care, or use of AED (Automated External Defibrillator) if necessary.


Training Requirements

  1. First Aid Training: To be an effective first aider, you must undergo appropriate training. In the UK, accredited training providers offer courses such as the First Aid at Work (FAW) and Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW). The EFAW course is suitable for low-risk workplaces with a smaller number of employees (i.e less than 50 people), while the FAW course is for larger, higher-risk workplaces (i.e more than 50 people).
  2. Refresher Training: It's crucial to keep your first aid skills up to date. First aid certificates typically expire after three years, so regular refresher courses are necessary to ensure you remain competent and confident in responding to emergencies.

Essential First Aid Skills

  1. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation): Knowing how to perform CPR can be a lifesaver. CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breaths to maintain circulation and oxygen supply to someone in cardiac arrest.
  2. Dealing with Bleeding: Understanding how to control bleeding, apply pressure dressings, and use tourniquets if necessary is essential to prevent excessive blood loss.
  3. AED Usage: Many workplaces have automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Knowing how to use these devices can significantly increase the chances of survival in cases of sudden cardiac arrest.
  4. Choking Relief: Being able to assist someone who is choking by using the abdominal thrust can prevent a life-threatening situation.
  5. Basic Wound Care: Knowledge of cleaning and dressing wounds properly can prevent infection and promote healing.



In the UK, emergency first aid at work is not just a good practice; it's a legal requirement. Employers must ensure the safety and well-being of their employees by providing adequate first aid provisions, while employees designated as first aiders must be trained and competent in responding to workplace emergencies. By understanding your responsibilities, staying updated through training, and mastering essential first aid skills, you can contribute to a safer working environment and potentially save lives when the unexpected occurs. Remember, being prepared for emergencies is everyone's responsibility.      


For further information or to book one of our first aid courses, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Post Author: Sarah Jewell

Sarah Jewell