An Explanation of First Aid Regulations

How These Can Affect Employers.

The following should be part of your first aid regulations risk assessment when deciding how much is needed in your work place.

Our HSE approved 1-3 day first aid courses cover the basics for all work places.


How would you class your work place, Low or High Risk?

Would you class your workplace as having low-level hazards, i.e. offices and shops?

The minimum cover should be;

  • An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements.
  • A suitable stocked first aid kit, which is checked regularly. Checks need to be recorded.

Would you class your workplace as having higher level hazards, such as dangerous machinery? Do your work activities involve special hazards, such as certain use of acids, confined spaces or chilled/freezer rooms?

You should consider;

  • Providing first aiders
  • Additional training for first aiders to deal with injuries caused by special hazards.
  • Additional first aid equipment.
  • Precise siting of first aid equipment.
  • Providing a first aid area or designated room
  • Informing the emergency services.


How many people are employed on site?

Small number of employees, the minimum provision is:

  • An appointed person to take charge of first aid arrangements.
  • A suitably stocked first aid box, which is checked regularly. Checks need to be recorded.

Large number of employees you should consider providing:

  • First aiders
  • Additional first aid equipment.
  • A first aid room

Are there inexperienced workers on site, or employees with disabilities or particular health problems? You should consider:

  • Additional training for first aiders.
  • Additional first aid equipment
  • Precise siting of first aid equipment.

N.B. Your first aid provision should cover work experience trainees.

 Accidents and ill health record

What injuries and illnesses have already happened in your workplace and where did it occur?

Make sure your first aid regulation provisions caters for the type of injuries and illnesses that might occur in your workplace. Monitor accidents and ill health and review first aid provisions as appropriate. After the injury or illness a full investigation should take place to ensure it is prevented in the future. This table should be re-evaluated as part of your investigation. All findings should be recorded.

Working Arrangements

Do you have employees who travel a lot, work remotely or work alone?

You should consider:

  • Issuing with personal first aid kits.
  • Issuing personal communicators/mobile phones to employees.

Do any of your employees work shifts or working unsociable hours?

  • You should ensure there is adequate first aid provisions at all times people are at work

Do you have several buildings / several sites or are you split over several storeys?

  • You should consider first aid provisions in each building or on each floor.

Is your workplace remote from emergency medical services?

  • You should inform the emergency services of your location.
  • Consider special arrangements with the emergency services.

Do any of your employees work at sites occupied by other employers?

  • You should make arrangements with the other site occupiers to ensure adequate first aid provisions are available. A written agreement between employers is strongly recommended (due diligence).

Do you have enough provisions to cover for your first aiders or appointed persons when they are absent?

You should consider:

  • What cover is needed for annual leave and other planned absences.
  • What cover is needed for unplanned and exceptional absences.


Do members of the public visit your premises?

Under the first aid regulations, you have no legal duty to provide first aid for non-employees, but the HSE strongly recommends that you include them in your first aid provision.

 Suggested number of first aiders to be available, at all times, whilst people are at work.

From your risk assessment what degree of hazards are associated with your work activities employee to first aider’s ratio;

Low Hazard e.g. Office, Shops, Library etc.

  • Less than 25 – At least one appointed person
  • 25 to 50 – At least one first aider trained in EFAW
  • More than 50 – At least one first aider trained in FAW for every 100 employed.

Higher Hazard e.g. Light Engineering and Assembly Work, Food Processing, Warehouses, Extensive Work with Dangerous Machinery or Sharp Instruments, Construction, Chemical Manufacture.

  • Less than 5 – At least one appointed person
  • 5 to 50 – At least one first aider on each shift trained in EFAW or FAW depending on the type of injuries that might occur
  • More than 50 – At least one first aider on each shift trained in FAW for every 50 employed.

The first aid regulations also require you to inform your employees of what first aid arrangements are in place. Visible signs need to be in place informing staff who the first aiders/appointed persons are, where they can be found and the location of the first aid boxes. You will also need to consider how to give first aid information to employees with reading or language difficulties.

There is no mandatory list of items to put in a first aid box though it should contain what you are likely to require. As a guide, where work activities involve low hazards, a minimum stock of first aid items might be;

  • A first aid guidance leaflet
  • 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes) appropriate to the type of work (hypoallergenic if necessary or blue for catering)
  • Two sterile eye pads
  • Four individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
  • Six safety pins
  • Two large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
  • six medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
  • A pair of disposable gloves.

When assessing your first aid regulations there are also certain considerations you should have with regards to Latex Gloves. Some staff may have an allergic reaction to latex gloves. If this is the case an alternative form of protective barrier should be sourced. Details of possible effects of latex gloves and possible allergic reactions should be contained within your COSHH manual.

This information was sourced from