Draft guidance for businesses ahead of changes to First Aid regulations

On 18th February 2013 the Health and Safety Executive announced changes to the 1981 First Aid Regulations stating that: ’employers will be free to employ a training provider of their choice, subject to reassuring themselves that the training provider is competent and that training provided is likely to deliver competent First Aiders.’

Additional guidance provided by the HSE states, ‘You may also find ‘ready-made’ assurance when considering the Voluntary Aid Societies (St John Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid). The Voluntary Aid Societies are together acknowledged by HSE as one of the standard setters for currently accepted first-aid practice …in so far as they relate to topics covered in the FAW and EFAW training courses. The Voluntary Aid Societies also work to similar principles of assessment, and employ a similar hierarchy of policies and processes to ensure training quality standards, to those of regulated qualifications. You may however, wish to undertake some of the elements of due diligence… (Extract from Selecting a first-aid training provider: A guide for employers (General Information Sheet 3 HSE GEIS3).

Changes are proposed to First Aid Regulations to remove the requirement for HSE to approve First Aid training providers. Subject to HSE Board and ministerial approval, the anticipated changes to the Regulations are expected in October 2013.

Removing the HSE approval process will give businesses greater flexibility to choose their own training providers and First Aid training that is right for their workplace, based on their needs assessment and their individual business needs.

HSE has published new draft guidance to help employers assess the First Aid requirements within their specific workplace. HSE has also produced separate guidance on how to select an appropriate First Aid training provider. Both can be found on the HSE websitehttp://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/proposed-changes-first-aid-regulations.htm

Until the changes take effect, the current regulation continues to apply – all First Aid training for the purposes of First Aid at work provision must be carried out by an HSE approved training provider or a training centre for an Ofqual/SQA accredited awarding organisation supported by HSE to deliver such training (these are listed on the HSE First Aid web pages).

Similarly, the current edition of L74, ‘First Aid at Work’ (Approved Code of Practice and Guidance) will remain valid and in force until new legislation and associated guidance takes effect.

Comments on the guidance can be sent to firstaidconsultation@hse.gsi.gov.uk

St Andrew’s First Aid will continue to provide the highest quality of training provision to meet your needs and we look forward to seeing you at one of our venues across Scotland or visiting your at your place of work.

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