Workplace First Aid: An Employer’s Guide

Workplace First Aid: An Employer’s Guide

Accidents happen in the workplace, and as an employer, you need to be prepared. One of the ways to do this is to assess your workplace first aid needs.


What is First Aid?


According to this guide from the HSA, first aid refers to

“(a) Treatment in a life-threatening situation (e.g. heart stoppage or severe bleeding) pending medical help, or
(b) Treatment for minor injury (e.g. cuts or bruises).”

Below, we have collated and summarised information in relation to workplace first aid. Note that this is not exhaustive, and for a full account of your legal obligations, you should refer to the full Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, or employ the services of a professional safety provider. Ayrton can provide you with personalised consultation regarding your workplace first aid needs. Contact us for more information.

Chapter 2 of Part 7 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relates to an employer’s duties in terms of workplace first aid. This applies to all workplaces, apart from “means of transport used outside the undertaking or a place of work inside a means of transport; a fishing boat; a field, wood or land forming part of an agricultural or forestry undertaking which is situated away from the undertaking’s buildings.”


Do I Need to Provide a First Aid Kit? What Should Be Included in it?


Legislation denotes that employers must provide “marked and easily accessible first-aid equipment”. This must be kept up to date.

The kind of first aid equipment required will depend on your workplace and the type of processes that are being undertaken there. Certain workplaces would be considered higher risk, such as factories and construction sites. There are other determining factors, such as size of the workplace, the number of employees, how the employees are dispersed, and the types of potential hazards. For a guideline of what to include in your workplace first aid kit, see our FAQs.

If there are any “special hazards” in the workplace, such as risk of exposure to toxic or hazardous substances, the first aid kit should be located in close proximity to the hazard. (Source)


Should My Workplace Have a First Aid Room?


If the safety statement indicates that it is necessary, one or more first aid rooms must be provided. The room(s) must be suitably-sized, easily accessible for stretchers and contain appropriate equipment and facilities. Whether your workplace necessitates a first aid room will depend on a number of criteria, including the size of the workplace premises, the type of work being undertaken, and the distance from medical services.

When designing a first aid room, there are multiple considerations. For example, the entrance to the room must be sufficiently wide to accommodate stretchers or an ambulance trolley, surfaces must be easy to clean, and the room must be located appropriately in relation to work spaces and means of transport to medical facilities.


What Documentation Do I Need to Keep?


Employers are also legally obligated to provide a workplace safety statement, which must include “details of arrangements made for the provision of first-aid, including the names of occupational first-aiders and the location of first-aid rooms, equipment and facilities for or at the place of work.” You must also ensure that “the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the local emergency services are clearly displayed at each place of work.”, as well as written records of the dates of all first aid training, including recertification training. (Source)

You must advise your employees and safety representatives about the first aid protocols and facilities you have in place. (Source)

First aiders should detail all incidents in a first-aid treatment record book. This book is highly confidential, and must be stored in a secure place. Health and Safety Inspectors may request to view these accounts. An example of how this information may be recorded is available below.

first aid workplace documentation

How Many First Aiders Should My Workplace Have?


Employers should designate the number of occupational first-aiders required in the workplace, and that adequate training and equipment is provided to them.

The below table is an example of the required number of first aid providers for different types of workplace. The HSA advises to double these figures if the workplace is situated more than an hour away from medical services. For full details of the required number of first aiders, see our FAQ page.

Workplace First Aid Numbers

Where Can I Avail of First Aid Training?


The Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) is the statutory body that regulates training standards for First Aid Response. PHECC approves Recognised Institutions and Approved Training Institutions which provide courses including First Aid Response (FAR).

Ayrton provides a number of PHECC-certified First Aid Courses for beginners and refresher courses for those who have completed training but need a reminder. As well as that, we have an expert team of safety consultants who can audit your workplace and complete a risk assessment to make tailored recommendations as to your workplace first aid needs.

If you’d like more information on any of these services, contact a member of our team who would be happy to help. Email, call 021 431 0331, or submit a contact form.

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