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Health & Safety Consultancy, Information & Management

First-aid is the immediate care given to a person who has been injured or suddenly taken ill prior to full medical treatment being available.


It can range from treating simple injuries to saving lives.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide suitable First-aid equipment, facilities and personnel in order that staff can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work.


What is ‘suitable’ will depend on the  potential hazards of the particular   workplace concerned.


This can be determined when carrying out a First-aid needs assessment.

What should I put in a First-aid box?

There is no mandatory list of items to put in a First-aid box.


Your First-aid kit will depend on what your needs assessment identifies as the apropriate contents.

The HSE guide to First -aid kit items required for a low risk work area is: 

  • A leaflet giving general guidance on         First-aid

  • 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (of assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of work (you can provide hypoallergenic    plasters if necessary)

  • Two sterile eye pads

  • Four individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile;

  • Six safety pins

  • Two large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings

  • Six medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings

  • At least three pairs of disposable gloves

BSI (British Standards Institution) have also specified requirements for the compilation of First-aid kits  

For BSI specification on the requirements for the compilation of First-aid components in small, medium, large or travel first aid kits for use in a workplace environment.

BS First-aid kit requirements (7)-1
First-aid box
First-aid box

What is a First-aider?

A First-aider is someone who has completed training appropriate to the level identified in the needs assessment.


This may be:

  • First-aid at Work (FAW); or

  • Emergency First-aid at Work (EFAW); or

  • Other First-aid training appropriate to the particular circumstances of the workplace

How many First-aiders and First-aid kits  do I need?

Low Risk Organisations


For low risk orgnaisations such as offices or shops the minumum requirement for 0-25 employees is:

For low risk orgnaisations with 25-50 employees, the minimum requirements are:


For low risk orgnaisations with more than 50 employees, the minimum requirements are:

  • 1 Appointed Person & 1 small kit

  • 1 Emergency First-aid at Work trained First-aider & one medium kit

  • At least one First-aider trained in First-aid at Work  & 1 large kit for every 100 extra staff (or part 100)

First-aid box
First-aid box

Higher Risk Organisations


If your organisation carries out higher risk activities such as:

  • Light engineering and assembly work

  • Food processing

  • Warehousing

  • Extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments

  • Construction

  • Chemical manufacture


Then with 0-4 employees the minimum requirements are:

  • At least one appointed person


For higher risk organisations the minimum requirement for 5-50 employees is:

  • 1 Appointed person & 1 small kit

  • 1 First-aider trained in Emergency First-aid at Work (EFAW) or

  • 1 trained at First-aid at Work (FAW) 1 medium kit up to 25 staff, plus one large kit for every 25 extra personnel

(also dependant on the type of injuries that might occur)

What is an appointed person?

If your First-aid assessment identifies that a trained First-aider is not required in your workplace, you must appoint someone to take charge of first-aid arrangements.


This is the minimum requirement.


Even in a small, low-hazard organisation where a First-aider is not considered necessary, there is always the chance that an accident or sudden illness may occur. It is therefore vital that there is always someone available to take charge in n emergency.


The role of the appointed person includes looking after First-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. They can also provide emergency cover where a First-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances (annual leave does not count).


An appointed person does not need First-aid training.


What information do I need to tell staff?

You have to inform your employees of the arrangements you have put in place for



Putting up notices telling staff who and where the first-aiders or appointed persons are, and where the First-aid box is, will usually be enough.

First aid 1a

You will need to make special arrangements to give First-aid information to employees with reading or language difficulties.

When  do I need to supply a First-aid room?

You should provide a suitable First-aid room or rooms where the assessment of First-aid needs identifies this as necessary.


A First-aid room will usually be necessary in higher risk organisations such as in chemical industries, large construction sites and in larger premises at a distance from medical services.


A designated person should be given responsibility for supervising the room(s) which should be clearly signposted and identified by white lettering or symbols on a green background and:  

  • Be large enough to hold an examination/medical couch, with enough space at each side for people to work, a chair and any necessary additional equipment

  • Have washable surfaces and adequate heating, ventilation and lighting;

  • Be kept clean, tidy, accessible and available for use at all times when employees are at work

  • Be positioned as near as possible to a point of access for transport to hospital

  • Display a notice on the door advising of the names, locations and, if appropriate, telephone extensions of First-aiders and how to contact them


If your organisation requires futher help in  meeting its First-aid requirements or assistance in completing a First-aid needs assessment, talk to Tony at:


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