First aid treatment for a head injury

A comprehensive guide to first aid treatment for head injuries

Head injuries are a serious concern in both everyday life and professional environments. Whether it's a fall, a sports accident, or a workplace incident, knowing how to administer proper first aid for a head injury can make a significant difference in outcomes. In this article, Dr Richard Dune delves into the essentials of first aid treatment for head injuries, covering key facts, legal considerations, and best practices to ensure you're equipped to respond effectively in critical situations.

Key facts and statistics

  • Head injuries are among the most common causes of disability and death globally, with over 10 million cases reported annually.
  • In the UK alone, head injuries account for approximately 1.4 million A&E attendances each year.
  • Falls are the leading cause of head injuries, followed by motor vehicle accidents, sports-related incidents, and assaults.

Key definitions

  • Head injury - Any trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain, ranging from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Concussion - A mild traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head, resulting in temporary cognitive impairment.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - A severe head injury characterised by prolonged unconsciousness, memory loss, and cognitive deficits.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - Employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees, including providing adequate first aid provisions.
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - Employers must conduct risk assessments to identify hazards, implement control measures, and provide appropriate first aid training.
  • Resuscitation Council UK Guidelines - Updated guidelines provide protocols for managing head injuries, including initial assessment, monitoring, and transportation to medical facilities.
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance - HSE offers comprehensive resources on managing head injuries in the workplace, emphasising the importance of prompt assessment and treatment.

Recognising head injuries

  • Signs and symptoms - Loss of consciousness, headache, nausea, confusion, dizziness, unequal pupil size, and impaired motor function.
  • Immediate response - Ensure the safety of the scene, assess the casualty's level of consciousness, and perform a primary survey (ABC: Airway, Breathing, Circulation).

Administering first aid

  • Stabilise the head and neck to prevent further injury.
  • Control bleeding with direct pressure and elevate the head if possible.
  • Monitor vital signs and provide reassurance to the casualty.
  • Do not remove helmets or protective gear unless necessary for medical assessment.

Seeking medical assistance

  • If the casualty exhibits signs of severe head injury (e.g., loss of consciousness, persistent vomiting, seizures), activate emergency medical services immediately.
  • Transport the casualty to the nearest A&E department for further evaluation and treatment by qualified medical professionals.


  • Regular first aid training - Ensure employees receive comprehensive first aid training, including specific protocols for managing head injuries.
  • Maintain first aid kits - Regularly check and replenish first aid supplies to ensure readiness for emergencies.
  • Promote safety awareness - Educate staff and the public about the importance of injury prevention measures, such as wearing protective gear and implementing fall prevention strategies.


Being prepared to respond to head injuries is paramount in safeguarding the health and well-being of individuals in various settings. By understanding the signs, administering proper first aid, and seeking prompt medical attention, we can mitigate the severity of head injuries and improve outcomes. Let's prioritise safety, equip ourselves with knowledge and skills, and take proactive steps to protect ourselves and those around us.

Take the next step in ensuring workplace safety. Click here to explore these accredited first aid training courses and qualifications and equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to respond effectively to emergencies and make a difference in critical situations.

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

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

A comprehensive guide to first aid treatment for head injuries - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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