In the workplace it is possible that someone could be taken ill or suffer injuries, whether as a result of the work they do or otherwise. Each place of work is required to carry out a risk assessment to determine how many first aiders would need to be present. High risk environments often require more first aiders, with a higher standard of training and qualification. If someone falls ill at work or injures themselves it is important that they get immediate care from someone suitably qualified in first aid. In serious cases, the first aider is the first contact before the arrival of the emergency services.
A first aider is someone who has undertaken training and has an HSE approved certification. They are responsible for preventing illnesses or injuries from getting worse, prior to an ambulance arriving. Arrangements must be in place to deal with such a situation, should an emergency arrive.
There are two main workplace first aid qualifications. The first is Emergency First Aid at Work, which is suitable for low risk environments. This qualification requires delegates to attend a six hour course and the certificate is valid for three years. The First Aid at Work qualification also lasts three years and is suitable for higher risk environments, with an 18 hour, three day course. Since 2010 HSE strongly recommends that holders of first aid qualifications should attend annual refresher courses in order to keep their basic skills up to date before requalification after three years.
The main reason to attend refresher courses annually is to prevent “skills fade”. In a real life working environment it may be rare to use first aid skills as no accidents may happen in the workplace. Therefore it is important to refresh your skills and ensure up to date methods are being learnt. By attending annual refresher courses it will help the first aider to become more competent and also have the confidence to act appropriately in an emergency situation. If a course is attended and 2 years have passed before the need to use the skills arise then any first aider may doubt their actions. It is vital that a first aider is confident to carry out the correct procedure.
Some companies require their staff to take annual refresher first aid training. It should be seen as an opportunity to ask any questions which may have arisen from experiencing it first hand in the workplace. Also, any changes to legislation and the methods used in first aid can be learnt. It is vital that every workplace has competent first aiders to deal with any emergency and it is reasonable to expect that skill levels will remain high throughout those three years of qualification.
Content provided by Imperative Training