What are the legal responsibilities of a first aider?

Understanding the legal responsibilities of first aiders: A vital guide

In workplace safety and well-being, the role of a first aider stands as a cornerstone. Beyond just administering immediate care, first aiders shoulder significant legal responsibilities. Understanding these obligations is paramount, not only for ensuring compliance but also for fostering a culture of safety within organisations.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2019/20, there were approximately 693,000 non-fatal workplace injuries reported in the UK.
  • Shockingly, around 69,208 non-fatal injuries were reported in the manufacturing sector alone during the same period.

Key definitions

  • First aider - A trained individual responsible for providing immediate assistance to those who are injured or ill in the workplace until professional medical help arrives.
  • Duty of care - A legal obligation to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of employees and others affected by an organisation's activities.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practices

  • Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 - This legislation mandates employers to provide adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities, and personnel in the workplace.
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - Employers are required to conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement measures to mitigate them, including provision for first aid.
  • The Resuscitation Council (UK) Guidelines - These guidelines outline best practices for first aid provision, including CPR and defibrillation procedures.

Understanding legal obligations

Employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This duty extends to providing adequate first aid provisions.

Training and qualifications

First aiders must undergo appropriate training and hold valid qualifications to effectively carry out their responsibilities. This training equips them with the necessary skills to assess situations, administer first aid, and potentially save lives.

Provision of first aid equipment and facilities

Employers must ensure that first aid equipment and facilities are readily accessible and well-maintained. This includes first aid kits, AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators), and designated first aid rooms where necessary.


  • Invest in training - Employers should invest in comprehensive first aid training for designated personnel to ensure they are adequately prepared to respond to emergencies.
  • Regular refresher courses - Regular refresher courses are essential to keep first aiders' skills up to date and reinforce best practices.
  • Review and update policies - Regularly review and update first aid policies and procedures to align with changes in legislation and best practice guidelines.


Understanding the legal responsibilities of first aiders is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative. By ensuring adequate provision and training, organisations can create safer work environments and mitigate the risks associated with workplace injuries and emergencies.

Boost compliance with first aid training

Take proactive steps to ensure compliance with first aid regulations. Click here to explore our first aid training courses and qualifications. Invest in training and resources to empower your workforce to respond effectively to emergencies and promote a safety culture.

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 the legal responsibilities of first aiders: A vital guide - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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