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First aid guidance published ahead of regulation changes

2 September 2013

A month ahead of changes to first aid regulations, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance to help businesses put in place appropriate arrangements for the provision of first aid.

From 1 October 2013, the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 will be amended, to remove the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications.

The changes are part of HSE’s work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand how to comply with health and safety law, whilst maintaining standards. They apply to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors.

Andy McGrory, HSE’s policy lead for First Aid, said: "From October, HSE will no longer approve first-aid training and qualifications. The guidance documents clarify what the law requires and provide practical help to businesses in assessing and understanding their first aid needs. Where a first aider is required, the guidance documents make it clear that the employer is free to select a training provider who is best suited to those needs.

"We have taken onboard comments and suggestions that we have received through our public consultations on the changes and from extended stakeholder discussions and business input to ensure the guidance provides everything an employer will need to manage their first aid requirements."

Advance copies of ‘The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981′, ‘Regulations and Guidance (L74)’ and ‘Selecting a first-aid training provider (GEIS3)’ are now available on the HSE website.

L74 is aimed at all industries and takes account of the amendment to regulation 3(2), which removes the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel, and incorporates some additional amendments brought about by other previous legislative changes. Find a copy of the guidance at:

GEIS3 will help employers identify and select a competent training provider to deliver any first-aid training indicated by their first-aid needs assessment. The guidance on selecting a training provider outlines the options available to employers and includes a checklist for evaluating first aid training organisations, covering trainer competence, quality assurance systems and syllabus content.
Find a copy of the guidance at:

Public consultation, extended stakeholder discussions and input from businesses of all sizes demonstrated general support for the proposed guidance.

Legislative changes have been approved by the HSE Board and by Parliament.

The legal requirement for employers to ensure they make adequate provision for first aid, in accordance with their first aid needs assessment, will remain unchanged.

Notes to editors

  1. In November 2011, Professor Ragnar Löfstedt published an independent report of health and safety legislation including a recommendation that: "The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 should be amended to remove the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel." The report noted that "this requirement seems to have little justification provided the training meets a certain standard", noting further that the HSE approval process went beyond the minimum requirement laid out in EU legislation. The full report is available on the Department for Work and Pensions website:
  2. The Government response to Löfstedt is also available on the Department for Work and Pensions website:
  3. This change follows two periods of public consultation. An initial consultation (CD248) on the proposed removal of the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications took place between 22 October and 3 December 2012. A further consultation (CD251) on the draft guidance took place between 25 March and 3 May 2013. Details of HSE consultations can be found on the HSE website at:
  4. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

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