Employers Legal Duties

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed. Detailed information can be found in First aid at work. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. Approved Code of Practice and guidance.

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

What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in the workplace. This includes whether trained first-aiders are needed, what should be included in a first-aid box and if a first-aid room is required. Employers should carry out an assessment of first-aid needs to determine what to provide. This involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what first-aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided.

The Regulations do not place a legal duty on employers to make first-aid provision for non-employees such as the public or children in schools. However, HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in an assessment of first-aid needs and that provision is made for them.

In assessing their needs, employers should consider:

  • the nature of the work and workplace hazards and risks;
  • the nature of the workforce;
  • the organisation’s history of accidents;
  • the size of the organisation;
  • work patterns;
  • the distribution of the workforce;
  • the remoteness of the site from emergency medical services;
  • employees working on shared or multi-occupied sites;
  • annual leave and other absences of first-aiders and appointed persons;

Application of the Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 to self employed workers

If you are self employed you are required to ensure you have such equipment, as may be adequate and appropriate in the circumstances, to provide first aid to yourself while at work.

You should make an assessment of the hazards and risks in your workplace and establish an appropriate level of first-aid provision. If you carry out activities involving low hazards (eg clerical work) in your own home, you would not be expected to provide first-aid equipment beyond your normal domestic needs. If your work involves driving long distances or you are continuously on the road, the assessment may identify the need to keep a personal first-aid kit in your vehicle.

Many self-employed people work on mixed premises with other self-employed or employed workers. Although you are legally responsible for your own first-aid provision, it is sensible to make joint arrangements with the other occupiers and self-employed workers on the premises. This would generally mean that one employer would take responsibility for first aid for all workers on the premises. HSE strongly recommends there is a written agreement for any such arrangement.

New Penalties for Health & Safety Breaches

From the 1st October 2012, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) started enforcing a new fee for intervention scheme, which seeks to recover the costs involved in investigating health & safety breaches from the business responsible.

Under the scheme, anyone who fails to comply with the health & safety laws, including the First Aid at Work Regulations, will be liable to pay an hourly fee for any time spent by the HSE during inspections, investigations, letter writing and any enforcement action.

Intervention rate starting at £124 per hour Learn more...

With the Fee for Intervention rate starting at £124 per hour, it is extremely inportant that businesses make sure they are fully compliant with all health & safety laws!

HSE Chief Executive, Geoffrey Podger, said: "those who fail to meet their legal obligations should pay the HSE's costs rather than the public purse".

Make sure you spread the word about Fee for Intervention and help show your company that the need for health & safety training is now greater than ever.

If you are unsure about whether you meet the requirements or have any questions please dont hesitate to contact us.

The need for Health & Safety training is now greater than ever!
We dont just train it, We do it! Learn more... Jamie Cowin, Director 2013