Which one are you? First-Aider, Employer or Employee?

Posted on April 24, 2013

first-aid-aid-kitsWhen you think of first-aiders, what do you think of? High-vis jackets, highly qualified personnel? What about the person sitting next you in the office? Many people do not realise that a first-aider can be one of your colleagues within your workplace. Training courses are provided to those who would like to become a part-time first-aider, which is safer and less time consuming than ringing a paramedic or visiting the doctors.

There are three roles within a the workplace, first-aider, employers and employees. Which one are you?

Are you a...?


A first-aider is a person who has undertaken training and has a qualification that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approves of. They should hold a valid certificate of competence in either:

- First aid at work, issued by a training organisation approved by the HSE

- Emergency first aid at work, issued by a training organisation approved by the HSE or a recognised Awarding Body of Ofqual/Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Employers may need help on deciding which route to go down and whether they should choose the first aid at work training or the emergency first aid at work training.

- Emergency first aid at work (EFAW) training enables a first-aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill at work.

- First aid at work training includes EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illness.

How many first-aiders need to be employed within a workplace?

An assessment will need to be carried out by the employers to help them decide how many first-aiders are required. However, there are no concrete rules on how many first-aiders are needed within a workplace, but employers must take into consideration the circumstances of their workplace.

Can any legal action be taken against first-aiders?

It is recommended that employers seek advice before taking any legal action although it is very unlikely that any action would be taken against a first-aider who was using the training that has been approved by the HSE. The HSE cannot give any specific advice.


Employers must have the correct first-aid arrangements in the workplace and will need to consider what health and safety risks may be present.

Most low-risk workplaces will only need a first-aid kit and a one person to overlook and take charge of any first-aid arrangements such as re-stocking the first-aid box and calling the emergency services if necessary. The appointed person does not need any training but must provide all staff with details of the first-aid arrangements.
On the other hand, if you work in a high-risk job, then a trained and qualified first aider is needed.

What employers need to do

Employers are responsible for ensuring that any employees who are injured or have taken ill in the workplace, are seen to immediately by a first-aider. This will help prevent an minor injuries turn in major ones.

Employers are also responsible for overlooking the appointed first-aider making sure that the first-aid kit is suitably stocked, the appointed person is doing their job and the information of any arrangements are given to all employees.

Accidents and ill health

Under health and safety law, you must report and keep a record of any injuries, incidents or any work-related diseases. Keeping your records up-to-date will help you complete your risk assessments if any accidents start reoccurring and your insurance company may also want to see your records in case of a work-related claim.


Your employer is expected to:

- Complete a first-aid needs assessment
- Ensure that there is either an appointed person in charge of first-aid arrangements or there are a number of suitably trained first-aiders
- Making sure the first-aid kit is stocked at all times and that the facilities are adequate
- Provide all employees with information about the first-aid arrangements

As an employee you have the right to report any problems to your employer if you feel like the first-aider or themselves are not taking responsibility for their roles. You also have the right to be immediately seen to if you do have an accident or become ill within the workplace.


To view more information on first aid, visit the HSE website or to view our first aid equipment click here.

Posted in Health and Safety