Employers’ legal duties
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure
their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with
less than five employees and to the self-employed.
What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in the workplace. This includes whether trained first-aiders are needed, what should
be included in a first-aid box and if a first-aid room is required. Employers should carry out an assessment of first-aid needs to determine what to provide.
Do I need to make first-aid provision for members of the public?
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 do not require employers to provide first aid for members of the public. However, many organisations such as schools,
places of entertainment, fairgrounds and shops provide a service for others. HSE strongly recommends that employers include the public in their first-aid needs assessment
and make provision for them.
How do the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 relate to first-aid provision in schools?
Employers are responsible for the provision of appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and first-aid personnel in respect of their employees – this includes schools,
as they are workplaces. Although the Regulations do not require employers to provide first aid for anyone else, HSE strongly encourages employers to consider non-employees
when carrying out their first-aid needs assessment and to make provision for them.
I have employees who travel regularly or work elsewhere, what should I do about first-aid provision for them?
Employers are responsible for meeting the first-aid needs of their employees working away from the main site. The assessment of first-aid needs should determine whether:
• Those who travel long distances or are continuously mobile should carry a personal first-aid box; and
• Employees should be issued with personal communicators/mobile phones.
If you are self-employed you are required to ensure you have such equipment, as may be adequate and appropriate in the circumstances, to provide first aid to yourself while at work.
You should make an assessment of the hazards and risks in your workplace and establish an appropriate level of first-aid provision. If you carry out activities involving low hazards
(eg clerical work) in your own home, you would not be expected to provide first-aid equipment beyond your normal domestic needs. If your work involves driving long distances or you
are continuously on the road, the assessment may identify the need to keep a personal first-aid kit in your vehicle.
Many self-employed people work on mixed premises with other self-employed or employed workers. Although you are legally responsible for your own first-aid provision, it is sensible
to make joint arrangements with the other occupiers and self-employed workers on the premises.