First aid courses for your employees (and why they’re important)

A first aider providing CPR training to an employee, who’s using a doll to practise.

First aid courses are really important, because they prepare your employees for any accidents that could occur in the workplace.

With the right training and qualifications, they’ll be able to deal well with emergency situations and provide a basic level of treatment until further help arrives, which could be invaluable.

While there are measures you can take to prevent accidents at work, first aid training should also be provided on a regular basis. Below, you can find out more about the types of courses, what they involve and how long they’re valid for.

What does a first aid course involve?

What is covered on a first aid course will likely depend on the provider you use and the type of course you’ve opted for.

There are usually two main types of courses - first aid at work (FAW) and emergency first aid at work (EFAW). FAW training is a longer course that goes into more detail, whereas EFAW is a shorter session that runs through the basics, particularly for use in emergency situations. However, most training programmes will train you in:

● Examining an injured person
● Applying bandages and dressings
● Treating specific types of injuries (burns, cuts, breaks, etc.)
● Assisting someone who is choking
● Performing CPR on adults, children and babies
● Using a defibrillator
● Staying calm in a panicked situation
● Phoning an ambulance
● Applying the recovery position.

No matter which course you choose, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that as an employer, you must provide your employees with adequate training that is appropriate for the circumstances. This means you should assess the types of injuries that could happen in your workplace and make sure that the course covers how to treat them. For instance, there might be a very small chance of employees in an office injuring themselves with a power tool, whereas for engineers or tradespeople, the risk is much higher.

You may also need to think about the clients and customers you have on site, too. What kind of injuries or accidents could occur to them? Do they have any existing medical conditions that may need to be treated at your place of work? While public liability insurance will help to cover the cost of any claims made against you should a member of the public be injured on your premises, it’s also important that there is someone available to treat the injury in an emergency.

A FAW course usually ends with a final assessment, often a multiple choice exam to ensure your employees have understood everything they’ve learned, whereas an EFAW course does not require a final assessment.

How long does a first aid course take?

Courses can vary, however most FAW programmes take at least 18 hours of training that is spread over three days. An EFAW takes less time, with around six hours of training over a minimum of one day.

How long is a first aid certificate valid for?

A first aid certificate usually lasts for three years, however it’s recommended that the course is retaken every year to refresh your employees’ minds and remind them of what they learnt in the first course. Before the certificate expires, employees will need to redo the course in order to be certified for a further three years. Once their certificate does expire, they won’t be permitted to perform first aid in a workplace.

Why do your employees need first aid training?

● It keeps them safe

No one knows when an injury can occur in the workplace, and it’s important to be as prepared as possible. When you have multiple employees that are first-aid trained, they can be first on the scene of an accident to help treat injuries to other employees and members of the public. This could make employees feel safer at work should an accident happen.

● It encourages safety awareness

Taking a course might not just help employees to feel safer at work, but it could actually change the way they undertake certain tasks to make the workplace a safer environment. They may even have suggestions, such as having a defibrillator installed on site or moving the first aid kit to a more suitable location. These things could allow first aiders to take action faster.

● It’s a great team building exercise

Businesses are usually looking for ways to boost morale and ensure their employees have a good bond, and undertaking a first aid course is a good way to do this. Most courses have practical elements, so employees may practise applying slings or putting someone in the recovery position.

There are a number of first aid providers you could use to train your employees. You should do your research to ensure the course covers everything you need and pick some members of staff to take part in the training. Remember to also book in a refresher course each year, and to arrange new training after three years.

Business insurance from £5 a month