In any workplace, the safety and well-being of employees are paramount. While measures like training, equipment, and policies are implemented to prevent accidents and minimise risks, there is always a possibility of unforeseen incidents occurring. That’s where the importance of first aid at work comes into play.

First aid serves as a vital component of any comprehensive workplace safety program, but to discover exactly why this is, HLS Training have delved into our courses to explain what the purpose of first aid at work is, and why you shouldn’t be flimsy when it comes to first aid training.

What is First Aid?

First aid is generally defined as immediate medical attention delivered to a patient immediately following an accident or emergency, at the scene where it happened. It is short term, temporary treatment that is administered to minimise pain and bleeding, preserve life, or simply prevent the condition from worsening.

First aid is usually delivered by someone with basic medical training although anyone can sign up for a first aid course to be taught the basics.

What is the purpose of first aid at work?

First aid at work is vital for a number of reasons. It has been proven that active application of first aid can increase survival rates from serious injury or illness exponentially.

For example, studies have shown that following cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR administration reduces the chances of survival by 10%. It was also discovered that in 2021-2022, 123 workers were killed as a result of work related accidents and a further 565,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries.

From this data, it is easily deduced that the purpose of first aid at work is to save lives and protect the welfare of employees and employers alike should an accident occur.

Examples of first aid at work

Whatever the industry you work in, there are many different forms of first aid training that could be required at some point during your career. These include:

  • Managing an incident
  • Care of unconscious casualty
  • Infection control
  • Wound, bleeding and shock management
  • Transportation of a casualty
  • Heart attack training
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Burns and scalds treatment

The benefits of first aid training

There are many benefits to investing in first aid training at work, the first and foremost being the prevention of unnecessary suffering. However, other benefits include:

  • Saving lives
  • Reducing the critical nature of injuries
  • Minimising pain and blood loss
  • Improving employee relations
  • Contributing to an overall safer work environment

Is first aid training a legal requirement in the workplace?

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations (1981) govern the obligation for first aid at work, however this does not outline any specific rules for workplace safety. It only states that first aid personnel should be ‘adequate and appropriate in the circumstances’.

It is therefore entirely up to you as an employer to set the standard for your place of work.

Although first aid training isn’t a legal requirement, it is still important to outline specific guidance for your business to ensure your workers are in the best hands possible if an accident occurs, as well as prevent legal repercussions if an accident occurs and you did not provide adequate and appropriate care.

HSE’s ‘First Aid At Work Guidance on Regulations’ can provide you with in depth guidance on the care you should provide.

Who should invest in first aid at work training?

Benefits of first aid training

Every workplace should invest in workplace training, whatever the risk of injury may be. This is because you may have an employee who is vulnerable to cardiac arrest, or have a fire in the workplace that causes injuries. No matter how safe of an environment you create for your employees, you always need provisions in place that give your employees the best chance of survival should the worst happen.

However, the following high-risk industries are considered most likely to require first aid knowledge:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Sport
  • Railroad
  • Warehousing
  • Hospitality
  • Hotels

At HLS Training, we take workplace health and safety seriously and that is why we believe every high-risk industry should have fundamental first aid training in place to keep employees and employers safe. That’s why we offer a broad variety of first aid training courses including:

Book your health and safety course today.