First Aid and Incident Reporting
Even after performing a risk assessment that is required by health and safety law, accidents can still happen. It is important to recognise this and take steps to handle any incidents and have first aid systems in place to support your employees. It is a legal requirement for you to provide first aid support and first aid kits for all employees. This includes anyone working for you on training schemes. More information is available on the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website or via their infoline Tel: 0845 345 0055
Risk Assessment and First AidInformation on the first aid provision within your business is part of the health and safety risk assessment you should complete regularly. The level of first aid support will depend on the levels of risk that your business, and therefore its employees are exposed to. As an absolute minimum your first aid provision should include:
- A fully trained and nominated first aider that should be identified to all employees
- A fully equipped first aid box
- Information and guidance about how to handle incidents requiring first aid
Whether you need to appoint a specific person who is responsible for delivering the first aid in your business depends on the levels of risk that your enterprise contains. Businesses with high levels of risk that perhaps handle hazardous chemicals on a daily basis would benefit from a fully trained first aider. The HSE recommend that the first aider should have knowledge that enables them to:
- Treat anyone that is bleeding
- Perform CPR to resuscitate anyone that has stopped breathing
- Handle the immediate impact of anyone that becomes unconscious
Remember that you must provide first aid cover at all times. If your business uses shift working, these times must also be covered by a qualified first aider. It’s therefore a good idea to have more than one trained member of staff so they can cover shift or other irregular hours and any absences or holidays.
Training for First AidIn an emergency your first aider(s) will be able to help the person who has had the accident. As no two businesses are the same, it’s important to recognise that your first aider may need additional information and training to handle the particular hazards that your business could contain. Contact the HSE as they will be able to give you guidance and help you tailor a first aid training course to your business’s precise needs. Once the course is completed, each first aider will gain their First Aid at Work certificate. The certificate is for a set period of time. To comply with the law, your first aider(s) will have to go on a refresher course periodically to keep their knowledge up-to-date.
The First Aid BoxThe first aid box that you have at your business’s premises will depend on the type of hazards you have identified in your risk assessment. However, as an absolute minimum, your first aid box - which should have a white cross against a green background to identify it - should contain:
- Disposable gloves
- A basic guide to first aid. You can download a leaflet from the HSE website
- Individually wrapped sterile dressings in a range of sizes
- Sterile eye pads
- Safety pins or other fastenings
- Large wound dressings
Note that your first aid box should not have any tablets, creams or other medication stored in it. The first aid box itself should be displayed in a prominent position preferably near a sink. Only your qualified first aider(s) should use its contents. When an item is used, it should be recorded and replaced as soon as possible.
Reporting Accidents and IncidentsAny incident or accident that a first aider attends should be recorded in the accident book. There is now set list of information that should be recorded, but you will find it useful to include in your accident book at least:
- Time, date and location of the incident
- The name of the person suffering the accident
- Details of the accident or incident
- Name of the first aider or other person that attended the incident or accident
The above information can help you analyse any accident or incident trends that could mean you need to perform a new risk assessment. Any serious incident that the HSE investigates will use the information in the accident book. Note that you must also display the Safety Law poster and provide each employee with a copy of the leaflet Health and Safety Law: What You Should Know. These publication are available from the HSE.