How Competent Are Your First Aiders? The HSE and Annual Refreshers

As we’ve mentioned previously (see HSE Changes & First Aid Guidance Update), October ushered in a whole slew of changes from the HSE to the way first aid in the workplace is managed and implemented. The big change was the way first aid training is provided, but a few other, more subtle, changes to The Health and safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 were introduced. A small change with big implications is in paragraph 6.
This paragraph used to read

Where an employer provides first aiders in the workplace, they should have a valid certificate of competence in either First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)…

The current guidance has been rewritten to take into account the training changes

Where an employer provides first aiders in the workplace, they should ensure they have undertaken suitable training, have an approriate first aid qualification and remain competent to perform their role.

Did you spot that last bit? It’s a new addition… remain competent to perform their role.  That means as an employer, you need to be ensuring that your first aiders are remaining competent throughout the duration of their certificate (3 years).  So ask yourself this,

What are you doing to ensure your first aiders remain competent?

There are many options available to ensure a first aider remains competent.  As an employer, you could introduce study days or practice days where your first aiders get together and go through various scenarios.  If you speak to the HSE though, they still only recommend the same thing they have done previously, Annual Refreshers.

HSE strongly recommends that first-aiders undertake annual refresher training during any three-year FAW/EFAW certification period…

The Annual Refresher is purposely designed to recap the basic knowledge covered on both Level 3 Emergency First Aid at Work and Level 3 First Aid at Work courses, giving the first aider a chance to practice and be observed by a competent person (one of our instructors).  The result? Your first aider remains competent.  It is also worth noting that at this point, the HSE is not convinced on the matter of completing first aid in an on-line only environment.

First Aid at Work Qualification Renewal Flowchart
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