First aid treatment for choking adults

The critical importance of first aid training for choking adults: A comprehensive guide

Every year, choking incidents pose a significant health risk, resulting in preventable injuries and deaths. The ability to respond effectively to such emergencies is not just valuable—it is essential. In this blog, Rose explores the importance of first aid training for choking adults, underpinned by key statistics, relevant legislation, and best practices. She aims to empower readers with knowledge and encourage enrolment in our life-saving first aid courses at The Mandatory Training Group.

Understanding choking - Key definitions and statistics

Choking occurs when a foreign object, usually food or a small item, lodges in the throat or windpipe, blocking airflow. It can lead to severe oxygen deprivation and, if not promptly managed, death. Statistics reveal that in the UK, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death. Recognising the signs of choking, which include inability to talk, lack of breath, and panic, is the first critical step in assisting.

Legislation and regulations

In the workplace, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 mandate that employers provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. This includes training employees in first aid, with choking response as a critical component. Compliance not only adheres to the law but significantly enhances safety and preparedness in the professional environment.

Best practices in choking first aid

  • Encouraging the person to cough - Prompting them to cough forcefully can help dislodge the object.
  • Back blows - If coughing does not work, deliver up to five sharp blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  • Abdominal thrusts - If back blows fail, perform up to five abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre), checking whether the blockage has cleared between each thrust.

Training and preparedness

While understanding these steps is crucial, hands-on training provides the skills and confidence to perform them effectively. Our certified first aid courses offer comprehensive training, using realistic scenarios and practical exercises to ensure you can act swiftly and effectively in real-world situations.

Recommendations for workplace safety

  • Regular training - Ensure that first aid training is a regular part of workplace training programmes, with refresher courses conducted as recommended.
  • Promote awareness - Regularly update safety protocols and guidelines, and keep employees informed about first aid measures.
  • Create a safety-first culture - Encourage a culture where safety is prioritised, and every employee feels responsible for the wellbeing of their colleagues.


Choking is a serious emergency that requires immediate and effective response. By understanding the key facts, adhering to legislation, and applying best practices, individuals and workplaces can significantly improve safety and outcomes in choking incidents. We at The Mandatory Training Group are committed to providing top-tier training that empowers individuals and organisations to handle health emergencies confidently and competently.

Act now - Save lives

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Enhance your skills and preparedness by signing up for our accredited first aid courses today. Click here to explore our first aid training courses and qualifications and equip yourself and your team with the knowledge to save lives—because every second counts regarding choking emergencies.

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.

The critical importance of first aid training for choking adults - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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