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21st November 2012

Changes to approval of first aid training providers

The HSE is consulting on the proposed removal of the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications and a review of the associated Approved Code of Practice and the content of revised guidance to support employers with the changes.

These changes are part of HSE’s work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they need to do to comply with health and safety law, and will be of interest to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors.

Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

A number of organisations have identified the requirement under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 to have a qualified first-aid person appointed in the workplace as being an unnecessary requirement for low-risk workplaces.

In fact the regulations do not insist upon a particular number of first-aid personnel and there is a requirement for employers to make provision for first-aid under the Framework Directive 89/391. However, the regulations do currently stipulate that the training and qualifications for the appointed first-aid person must be approved by HSE and this appears to both go beyond the requirements of the Directive and have little justification. So long as they meet a certain standard, allowing businesses to choose training providers should allow them greater flexibility to choose what is right for their workplace, and possibly reduce costs.

What will happen next?

To implement the recommendation will require a change in legislation to make amendments to the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. This work is now under way and the HSE has initiated a consultation period which ends on 3rd December 2012.

What does the recommendation mean?

HSE will no longer approve training providers and qualifications although it will continue to manage the standard for first aid by which all courses should be set.

For providers, this will mean that they no longer have to seek HSE approval, removing the costs associated with gaining this approval.

For employers, the recommendation will allow them greater flexibility in choosing first aid training, suitable for their workplaces and the risks there-in.

For those who are self employed, there will no longer be the statutory requirement to provide equipment to render first aid to themselves if injured at work.

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