First aid training providers

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All first aid training providers will need to be able – and should be prepared to demonstrate how they satisfy certain criteria set by HSE. These criteria include:

  • the qualifications expected of trainers and assessors
  • monitoring and quality assurance systems
  • teaching and standards of first-aid practice
  • syllabus content
  • certification

Training organisations should also meet the criteria set by the principles of assessment for first aid qualifications.

These principles of assessment for first aid training expand on:

  • competence and qualifications of first aiders
  • the quality assurance systems required
  • how training is delivered
  • how training is assessed

Satisfying these criteria will demonstrate to employers that you are competent to deliver first aid training. Clarity in this area will help employers comply with the law, as the Health and Safety at Work Act clearly places a duty on them to select a competent training provider.

HSE cannot advise on the quality of individual training providers or the service they provide. Similarly HSE cannot advise on the standard of quality assurance systems that a training provider may have in place. These are matters for the employer.

Training courses

If an employer has identified that first-aiders are needed in their workplace, they must ensure that those identified to be first aiders undertake training appropriate to the need – typically this may be first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW):

  • EFAW training enables a first-aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work.
  • FAW training includes EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses.
  • Employers may also identify some other level or standard of training that is appropriate to their needs.

The findings of the first-aid needs assessment can help employers decide whether their first-aiders should be trained in FAW or EFAW or to some other appropriate standard. As a guide, the table in First aid at work: your questions answered suggests what first-aid personnel to provide under different circumstances.

FAW training courses involve at least 18 hours of training and are run over a minimum of three days. EFAW training courses involve at least six hours of training and are run over a minimum of one day. Other appropriate training identified by an employer should have a duration that relates to the syllabus content (as compared with FAW and EFAW) HSE continues to set the syllabus for both FAW and EFAW.

Certificates

Certificates for the purposes of first aid at work last for three years. Before their certificates expire, first-aiders will need to undertake a requalification course as appropriate, to obtain another three-year certificate. Once certificates have expired the first aider is no longer considered to be competent to act as a workplace first aider.

Standards of first aid

You should teach the first-aid management of injuries and illness, in relation to the topics covered in FAW/EFAW training courses, in accordance with:

  • current guidelines published by the Resuscitation Council (UK); and
  • the current edition of the first-aid manual of the Voluntary Aid Societies (St John Ambulance, British Red Cross, St Andrew’s First Aid); or
  • other published guidelines, provided they are in line with the two above or supported by a responsible body of medical opinion.

Where an employer requires training other than FAW or EFAW qualifications to demonstrate workplace first-aid competence, you should ensure that common elements of the syllabus are taught in accordance with the same guidelines and that there is a sound basis for the way in which any other elements are taught.

E-learning and blended learning

Blended learning is an accepted method for delivery of first aid training, providing criteria outlined in section 23 of guidance (PDF.

Refresher training

HSE strongly recommends that first-aiders undertake annual refresher training, over half a day, during any three-year certification period. Although not mandatory, this will help qualified first-aiders maintain their basic skills and keep up to date with any changes to first-aid procedures.

HSE approval of first-aid training organisations

Since changes to the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulation 1981 on 1 October 2013, HSE no longer approves first aid training and qualifications – or first aid training providers.

The only first-aid training HSE approves is under the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (first aid) Regulations 1989. 

HSE does not run training courses.

Highfield Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (RQF)

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification is aimed at learners who wish to become emergency first-aiders in the workplace. This qualification meets the requirements for training emergency first-aiders in those organisations that have identified that staff need to be trained to this level within their first-aid needs assessment. 

How long will it take?

To complete this emergency first aid at work qualification learners should expect to undertake 7 hours of learning, typically over one day, with a minimum contact time of 6 hours. 

Topics covered

The qualification covers knowledge such as the roles and responsibilities of the first aider and how to assess an incident. The qualification also covers first aid skills in CPR and use of an AED, providing first aid to a casualty who is choking and dealing with external bleeding and hypovolaemic shock.

Assessment method

This qualification is assessed by a practical demonstration and a multiple-choice theory test.

Highfield Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (RQF)

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification is aimed at learners who wish to become first-aiders in the workplace. This qualification meets the requirements for training first-aiders in those organisations that have identified that staff need to be trained to this level within their first-aid needs assessment. 

How long will it take?

To complete this qualification learners should expect to undertake 22 hours of learning, typically over three days, with a minimum contact time of 18 hours. 

Topics covered

The qualification covers knowledge such as the roles and responsibilities of the first aider, how to assess an incident and recognising signs and symptoms of injury and illness.

The qualification also covers first aid skills in CPR and use of an AED and assisting a casualty who is suffering from major injury and illness such as chest injuries, spinal injuries and anaphylaxis. 

Assessment method

This qualification is assessed by a practical demonstration and a multiple-choice theory test.

Selecting a first-aid training provider

Checklist for evaluating the competence of first-aid training organisations

Trainers/assessors

Do the trainers/assessors have a current FAW certificate or qualify for an exemption?
Do the trainers/assessors have an appropriate training/assessing qualification?

Quality assurance

Is there a documented quality assurance plan designating an individual to take responsibility for quality assurance, including assessment of the performance of trainers/assessors at least annually?

Does the designated person have a current FAW certificate or qualify for an exemption?

Does the designated person have an assessing/verifying qualification?

Is there a documented course evaluation procedure?

Is there a documented complaints procedure?

Teaching currently accepted first-aid practice

Is FAW/EFAW taught in accordance with current guidelines on adult basic life support published by the Resuscitation Council (UK), and for other aspects of first aid, in accordance with current guidelines published by the Voluntary Aid Societies or other published guidelines that are supported by a responsible body of medical opinion?

Training syllabus

Does the course content adequately meet the needs of your workplace as indicated by your first-aid needs assessment?

For FAW, does the syllabus include the topics listed in Appendix 1 and does the course include at least 18 training and assessment contact hours, over three days?

For FAW requalification, does the syllabus include the correct topics listed and does the course last at least 12 training and assessment contact hours, over two days?

For EFAW, does the syllabus include the correct topics and does the course last at least six training and assessment contact hours, over one day?

For EFAW requalification, does the syllabus include the correct topics and does the course last at least six training and assessment contact hours, over one day?

Certificates

Do the certificates issued to students assessed as competent contain the name of the training organisation, the title of the qualification (eg FAW or EFAW), reference to the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, the date of issue and confirmation the certificate is valid for three years?

(If training is neither FAW nor EFAW the certificate should also list the learning outcomes of the syllabus on which candidates have been assessed.)

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