A first aider is a person that has undertaken necessary first aid training and holds a valid qualification as proof of competence. First aiders are important on construction sites as they can provide help and assistance should there be an injury or illness.
Common injuries that first aiders may have to deal with on site include:
The qualification must be one that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recognise. This can be either:
- First aid at work (FAW), a higher level 3-day course which also covers first aid to specific injuries and illnesses.
- Emergency first aid at work (EFAW): Usually a one-day course covering emergency first aid.
First aiders should take one or both courses from a training organisation that is approved by HSE or a recognised awarding body of Ofqual/Scottish Qualifications Authority. It is recommended that first aiders undertake annual refresher training to ensure their basic skills are up to date. Certificates last for three years, and before expiring a requalification course should be undertaken by the first aider.
 Number of first aiders
Although there are no exact rules or requirements on the number of first aiders for a construction site, the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require all construction sites to have:
- A first aid box with the necessary equipment for the number of on-site workers.
- Clear information provided, usually in the site facilities, giving the name of the appointed person or first aider and where to find them.
- An appointed person responsible for first aid arrangements.
Since there are no specific requirements, each construction project should be assessed on the basis of its first aid needs. This will be influenced by the number of operatives on site, the type of working conditions, the type of materials being used, and the construction procedures being undertaken.
The HSE provides guidance on the number of first aiders:
- Less than 5 people on site: At least one appointed person.
- 5-50 people on site: At least one qualified first aider trained in EFAW or FAW.
- More than 50 people on site: At least one first aider trained in FAW per 50 operatives.
First aid personnel should be available at any time that work is being done on site. If work is being done in shifts, then a project may need two qualified first aiders to handle the separate shift work.
The appointed person is responsible for first aid facilities, equipment, and procedures, although unlike first aiders they do not require first aid training. The appointed person is also responsible for calling the emergency services when required.
As a minimum, a site first aid kit should contain:
- A leaflet giving general guidance on first aid.
- Sterile plasters (assorted sizes) appropriate to the type of work.
- Sterile eye pads.
- Triangular bandages.
- Safety pins.
- Sterile unmedicated wound dressings.
- Disposable gloves.
Although there is no specific timeframe, many items, particularly sterile items, have expiry dates and should be disposed of and replaced accordingly.
British Standard BS 8599 provides further information on the contents of first aid kits.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building Site to Boardroom (BS2B).
- Construction dust.
- Construction work in hot weather.
- Crane regulations.
- Health and safety.
- Deleterious materials.
- Environmental health.
- Health and safety at work etc act 1974.
- Health and safety consultant.
- Health and Safety Executive.
- Health and safety file.
- Health and safety inspector.
- Health and safety policy.
- Human resource management in construction.
- Near miss.
- Notification to HSE.
- Personal protective equipment PPE.
- Reporting accidents and injuries on construction sites.
- Risk of rats in construction.
- Site administrator.
- Site induction.
- Site supervisor.
- Work at height regulations.
 External references
- HSE - First aid at work
Featured articles and news
Studio Libeskind reveal designs for a new skyscraper with a living facade in Toulouse.
A mega-dome, a cenotaph for Newton, a bubble over New York - some of the most famous projects that were never realised.
One of the oldest and finest examples of Byzantine and Islamic architecture, the Dome of the Rock.
Have a look at our article explaining thermal comfort in buildings.
BRE's ethical labour sourcing standard and how it could help tackle modern slavery in the construction industry.
BSRIA publish mechanical and electrical maintenance customer satisfaction key performance indicators.
Have a look at our article on the history, practice and techniques of placemaking.
Have a look at the key recommendations from ICE's new report on the digital transformation of infrastructure.
The Gate of Europe, the world's first inclining high-rises, with a lean of 15-degrees.
Why engineers need to keep pace with the challenges and opportunities of the digital transformation of the infrastructure sector.