Last edited 09 Sep 2016

First aider

Contents

[edit] Introduction

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:

[edit] Qualifications

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.

[edit] 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:

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.

[edit] Appointed person

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.

[edit] First aid kit

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.

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