HSE Changes to First Aid Training Customer Guidance (Update 2)

Following our initial briefing note on the changes that may affect your organization as a result of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 being amended, to remove the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications. We would like to highlight a couple of other points that have been highlighted following our in-depth review of the guidance document L74 (3rd Edition) from the HSE. This is applicable from October 1st 2013.

74. All first-aid training certificates, whether FAW, EFAW or some other appropriate training, are valid for three years. Employers need to arrange retraining before certificates expire. The FAW requalification course lasts two days and should cover the same content as the initial FAW course (Appendix 5). If the first-aider does not retrain or requalify before the expiry date on their current certificate they are no longer considered competent to act as a first-aider in the workplace. They can requalify at any time after the expiry date by undertaking the two-day requalification course. However, it may be prudent to complete the three-day FAW course, especially where a considerable period ie in excess of one month has elapsed since the FAW certificate expired. It is for the employer to decide the most appropriate training course to requalify the first-aider. An EFAW requalification course should be of the same duration and content (Appendix 6) as the initial EFAW course.

The HSE would allow individuals to continue acting as a first aider for an additional 28 days if booked onto a refresher course within that period. Once certification expires the first-aider is no longer deemed competent and would not be recognized by the HSE.

6 Where an employer provides first-aiders in the workplace, they should ensure they have undertaken suitable training, have an appropriate first-aid qualification and remain competent to perform their role. Typically, first-aiders will hold a valid certificate of competence in either first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW). EFAW training enables a first-aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. FAW training includes EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses (see paragraphs 5273).

This change is an important statement as regards Annual Refresher. If your first aiders are not completing there annual refresher how can you prove that the have maintained competence?

75. HSE strongly recommends that first-aiders undertake annual refresher training during any three-year FAW/EFAW certification period. Although not mandatory, this will help qualified first-aiders maintain their basic skills and keep up-to-date with any changes to first-aid procedures. Appendix 7 contains suggested course content for annual refresher training, although HSE does not specify the design of these courses.

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