Employer responsibilities for workplace first aid

Protecting your workplace: Understanding employer responsibilities for first aid

Ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees in every workplace. One crucial aspect of this responsibility is providing adequate first aid provisions. From minor injuries to life-threatening emergencies, having trained personnel and proper resources can make all the difference in preserving life and preventing further harm. In this blog, Rose delves into the employer's responsibilities for workplace first aid, exploring key legislation, best practices, and essential guidelines to keep your workplace safe and prepared.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), over 600,000 non-fatal injuries occurred at work in the UK in 2020/21.
  • Of these incidents, a significant portion required immediate first aid intervention to prevent escalation.
  • Effective first aid provision can reduce the impact of workplace injuries and illnesses, leading to fewer lost workdays and improved employee morale.

What is emergency first aid at work?

Before diving into the specifics of employer responsibilities, let's clarify some key terms:

  • First aid - The immediate assistance or treatment given to someone who is injured or suddenly taken ill before the arrival of professional medical help.
  • First aider - A trained individual responsible for providing initial medical assistance in the event of an injury or illness at the workplace.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - This cornerstone legislation places a duty on employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees, including providing adequate first aid facilities and trained personnel.
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - These regulations require employers to conduct risk assessments, identify first aid needs, and provide appropriate training and equipment.
  • British Standard BS 8599 - Provides guidelines for the contents of workplace first aid kits, ensuring they are stocked with appropriate supplies for common workplace injuries.
  • HSE Approved Code of Practice - Offers practical guidance on meeting first aid obligations, including the selection and training of first aiders and the provision of first aid equipment.

Assessing first aid needs

Conducting a thorough risk assessment is the first step in determining the level of first aid provision required in your workplace. Factors to consider include the nature of work activities, the size and layout of the premises, and the number of employees.

Training first aiders

Employers must ensure that an adequate number of employees are trained as first aiders to meet the specific needs of their workplace. Training should cover essential first aid skills, CPR, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) where appropriate.

Providing first aid equipment

Equipping the workplace with well-stocked first aid kits is essential. Kits should be easily accessible, clearly labelled, and regularly checked and replenished. Additionally, larger workplaces may require additional first aid facilities, such as eye wash stations or medical rooms.


  • Regularly review and update your first aid provisions to account for changes in workplace activities or personnel.
  • Encourage all employees to familiarise themselves with the location of first aid equipment and trained first aiders.
  • Consider investing in advanced first aid training for designated individuals to handle more complex medical situations.


Employer responsibilities for workplace first aid are not just legal obligations; they are crucial for creating a safe and supportive work environment. By prioritising first aid provisions, employers can mitigate the impact of workplace accidents and demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being. Remember, in an emergency, every second counts—be prepared.

Take proactive steps to assess and enhance your workplace first aid provisions today. Click here to enrol in our comprehensive first aid training courses and qualifications today and support your organisation in meeting its legal obligations while keeping employees safe.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Understanding employer responsibilities for first aid - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK

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