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S13 - First Aid At Work

Construction and agriculture account for the highest numbers of work-related deaths. At work in any industry, however, individuals can sustain injury or sudden illness possibly leading to death if occurrences are not immediately acted upon. The most common causes of fatality at work are a fall from height, being struck by a moving or flying object and being struck by a moving vehicle. Unsurprisingly, slips, trips and falls remain the most common causes of non-fatal workplace injuries.

It is imperative that employers have a system in place to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are hurt or become ill. The First Aid At Work Procedure is a document aimed at responsible managers which gives detailed advice on how to devise a system, and will assist in compliance with The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. The procedure provides information regarding:

  • First aid and its considerations
  • Responsible managers’ duties
  • First aiders and appointed persons
  • Travelling employees, and
  • First aid boxes.

What is this?
This is a written procedure which covers all aspects of the management of first aid in the workplace. A PDF of the procedure is available to download (see attached), please use it in conjunction with the attached Toolbox Talk.

What is first aid?

First aid at work covers the arrangements which must be made to ensure that people who suffer injuries or fall ill are given immediate attention and, in serious cases, the emergency services are contacted. First aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries developing into major ones.

What does the responsible manager need to do?

The person responsible for implementing this procedure must ensure that:

  • Undertake a risk assessment to identify the first aid requirements of the workplace. This needs to take into account the number of people in the workplace and the activities they are performing;
  • Ensure that nominated first aid personnel receive adequate training to enable them to fulfill their roles;
  • Ensure that this training is maintained and carried out a minimum of every 3 years;
  • Provide a suitable room/area which can be used for dealing with persons requiring first aid treatment (it must be hygienically clean);
  • Ensure that suitable equipment is provided within the room/area for persons to remain comfortable whilst receiving treatment;
  • Ensure that an adequate number of first aid provisions (including eyewash stations) are positioned throughout the workplace, and ensure they are clearly signed and labelled;
  • Provide all persons with adequate information, instruction and supervision on all first aid arrangements within the workplace;
  • Ensure that these arrangements are in place throughout all hours of work. (Consideration needs to be made to cover holidays and sickness.)

What needs to be considered when assessing first aid needs?

Items to consider:

  • Hazards and associated risks within the workplace;
  • Number of people who operate in the workplace at any one time (including trainees, disabled persons);
  • History of accident and incidents;
  • Number of buildings on-site and how spread out they are;
  • Hours of work (night work, shift work);
  • Distance and location of the workplace if the emergency services are required;
  • Employees who travel or work alone;
  • Risks to members of the public;
  • Amount of first aid provision required and the location in which it will be used/stored;
  • Need for a fully trained first aider or an appointed person.

What is an appointed person?

An appointed person is someone who will:

  • Take charge of a situation and contact the emergency services
  • Monitor and replenish any first aid provisions (i.e. first aid box)

Note: An appointed person cannot administer first aid treatment if they have not been trained.  

What is a first aider?

A first aider is a person who has received the relevant training to administer first aid treatment to an injured person. A first aider can undertake the duties of an appointed person.  

How many first aiders or appointed persons do I need?

The number of first aid personnel required will be identified through a risk assessment. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations breaks down the requirement into low risk, medium risk and high risk. Please see Appendix 1 in PDF.

What about employees who travel?

Provision should be made to issue all travelling employees with small travel first aid kits. These employees are responsible for ensuring that all used equipment is reported and replenished.  

What should I put in a first aid box?

It depends on the nature of your business and the hazards identified through your risk assessment, but the following is a basic guideline:

  • A guidance leaflet on first aid;
  • At least 20 individually wrapped sterile dressings;
  • Two sterile eye pads;
  • Four individually wrapped triangular bandages;
  • Safety pins;
  • Six medium sized individually wrapped unmediated wound dressings;
  • Two large individually wrapped unmediated wound dressings;
  • One pair of disposable gloves.

Do not keep medicines or tablets in a first aid box

Note: Consideration should be given to making eye wash stations available at various locations throughout the workplace. Remember, once an eye wash container has been opened it is no longer sterile and should be disposed of.


  • The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

This workplace procedure forms part of a Health & Safety Risk Management System for employers in the quarrying industry. The procedures, which cover a wide range of workplace risks and hazards, can be viewed here

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