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UPDATE: First Aid during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

About three months ago businesses began to reopen their doors to employees and the general public since COVID-19 came into our lives. With the ever-changing regulations and guidance, it can be difficult to keep track of everything to ensure your business is running as smoothly as possible, as well as ensuring the health, safety and well-being of staff and visitors.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have recently revised their guidance on first aid requirements in non-healthcare settings during the pandemic.

First Aid needs Assessments

When considering First Aid at Work there is no set template as each premises, workplace and business is different. In order to decide what provision you need to make, you should conduct a First Aid needs Assessment, considering the circumstances of your workplace, staff and the risks or hazards that may be present. The findings of your assessment will help you to decide what first-aid arrangements you need to put in place.

Whilst many businesses have a First Aid needs Assessment in place, this would now need reviewing with the current COVID-19 circumstances to consider the following:

· How should first aiders treat causalities from a safe distance;

· The work patterns of staff;

· Vulnerable staff with first aid responsibilities;

· Absence of first aiders

· Sharing first aid cover with other businesses;

· Minimising shared breathing areas;

· Washing hands thoroughly;

· What equipment they can use to minimise risk of infection transmission.

As an employer you will need to decide if you can still provide the cover required for the staff that are present and the activities they are doing. It would be good practice to also receive the input of your first aiders as there may be factors that have not be considered but need to be included in the risk assessment.

First Aid Certificate Extensions

As the availability for First Aid Training has improved, the temporary COVID-19 extension arrangements are coming to an end on 31st October 2020 for offshore medic (OM) or offshore first aid (OFA) certificates.


First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates that expired after 16th March 2020 are valid until 31st October 2020 or 6 months from the date they expired, whichever is later. All requalification training for these certificates will need to be completed by 31st March 2021.


If, as an employer you are utilising people with expired first aid certificates, it is vital to start planning when requalification training will commence and to also provide evidence of the scheduled training.


Annual Refresher Training

Whilst some first aiders may not have been able to access face to face refresher training, the HSE supports the use of online refresher training to keep their skills up to date.

It is strongly recommended the practical elements are delivered face to face to ensure competency of the student can be assessed.

As a leading Health & Safetyl Consultancy, Embark Consulting have been helping many businesses reassess their First Aid needs Assessments for years. Contact us for a no obligation chat to find out more on what we can do to help you and your business.

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