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Changes to first aid regulations come into effect

Date:
1 October 2013

Businesses now have more flexibility in how they manage their provision of first aid in the workplace following a change in health and safety regulations.

As of today (1 October 2013), the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 have been amended, removing the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications.

The change is part of HSE’s work to reduce the burden on businesses and put common sense back into health and safety, whilst maintaining standards. The changes relating to first aid apply to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors.

Andy McGrory, HSE’s policy lead for First Aid, said: "HSE no longer approves first-aid training and qualifications. Removing the HSE approval process will give businesses greater flexibility to choose their own training providers and first aid training that is right for their work place, based on their needs assessment and their individual business needs.

"Employers still have a legal duty to make arrangements to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work."

Information, including the regulations document and a guidance document to help employers identify and select a competent training provider to deliver any first-aid training indicated by their first-aid needs assessment are available on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/.

HSE will continue to set the standards for training. While the changes give employers flexibility, the one day Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) and three day First Aid at Work (FAW) courses remain the building blocks for first aid training.

As part of the changes, the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) text which was previously included in guidance document L74 (which consisted of only 12 sentences), has been incorporated into the new guidance. The advice in the guidance sets out clearly the recommended practical actions needed, and the standards to be achieved, to ensure compliance with duties under the 1981 Regulations. This is intended as a comprehensive guide on ensuring compliance with the law.

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: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/66790/lofstedt-report.pdf
  2. The Government response to Löfstedt is also available on the Department for Work and Pensions website: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/66794/lofstedt-report-response.pdf
  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 2013. 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: http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/index.htm
  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. www.hse.gov.uk

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