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More freedom on first aid

Businesses have been given more flexibility in how they manage first aid provision in the workplace following a change in health and safety regulations.

With effect from 1 October 2013, the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 were amended to remove the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to approve first aid training and qualifications, although the HSE will continue to set the standards for training. The changes apply to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors.

Andy McGrory, HSE’s policy lead for first aid, said: “Removing the HSE approval process will give businesses greater flexibility to choose their own training providers and first aid training that is right for their workplace, based on their needs assessment and their individual business needs.”

He stressed: “Employers still have a legal duty to make arrangements to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.”

Information, including the regulations document and a guidance document to help employers identify and select a competent training provider to deliver any first aid training indicated by their first aid needs assessment, as required under the Health and Safety at Work Act, are available on the HSE website at