First aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. Under health and safety legislation employers have to ensure that there are adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities for providing first aid in the workplace.
It is for schools and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) to develop their own policies and procedures, based on an assessment of local need. Most schools will already have first-aid arrangements in place, drawing up first-aid policies and ensuring that they are meeting their statutory duties.
Assessment of First aid requirements for schools
When assessing first aid needs it is recommended that the likely risks to pupils and visitors, as well as to staff, are included.
Points to consider include:
- The size of the school, and whether it is on split sites or levels. If so, the assessment needs to encompass additional first-aid provision and the deployment of adequate first-aid personnel cover.
- The location of the school in relation to the emergency services. It is good practice to inform the local emergency services in writing of the school’s location and any circumstances that may affect access to the school. Emergency services should also be given clear instructions regarding where and to whom they should report on arrival at the school.
- Any specific hazards or risks on site, e.g. hazardous substances, dangerous tools or machinery, or temporary hazards such as building and maintenance work.
- Any specific health needs or disabilities of pupils or staff and the age range of pupils: these can affect the type of first-aid provision and materials required. (First-aid organisations can provide advice on training for first-aid personnel in schools).
First aid requirements for schools – The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 set out first-aid provision in the work place, and require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and qualified first-aid personnel.
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) recommends that organisations such as schools, which provide a service for others, should include such other individuals in risk assessments and provide for them. Schools should therefore consider the likely risks to staff, pupils and visitors, and make allowances for them when drawing up policies and deciding on the numbers of first-aid personnel. Most schools will have first-aid arrangements in place but it is strongly recommended that all schools should develop their own first-aid policies and procedures based on an assessment of local need. Schools will need to assess numbers of first-aid personnel, equipment, accommodation and recording and reporting arrangements.
First aid requirements for schools – All staff must be informed of the first aid arrangements: the location of equipment, facilities and first-aid personnel, and the procedures for monitoring and reviewing the school’s first-aid needs.
First Aid Arrangements
The employer or delegated manager (usually the headteacher) must inform all staff of the first-aid arrangements, the location of equipment, facilities and first-aid personnel, and the procedures for monitoring and reviewing the school’s first-aid needs.
A simple method of keeping staff and pupils informed is by displaying first-aid notices in staff and common rooms. The information should be clear and easily understood.
Notices must be displayed in a prominent place, preferably one in each building if the school is on several sites.
First Aid Boxes
There is no mandatory list of items for a first-aid box. However, the HSE recommends that, where there is no special risk, a minimum provision of first-aid contents would be:
- A leaflet giving general advice on first aid.
- Twenty individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings (assorted sizes).
- Two sterile eye pads.
- Four individually wrapped triangular bandages.
- Six safety pins.
- Six medium-sized (12cm x 12cm) individually wrapped sterile unmedicated wound dressings.
- One pair of disposable gloves.
Equivalent or additional items are acceptable.
First aid materials, equipment and facilities
First aid equipment must be clearly labelled and easily accessible. Every employer should provide at least one fully stocked first-aid container at each site. Additional containers will be needed for split sites or levels, distant sports fields or playgrounds and any off-site activities. All first-aid containers must be marked with a white cross on a green background.
The first aid arrangements should identify who is responsible for checking first-aid containers. The contents of first-aid containers should be checked regularly and containers should be restocked as soon as possible after use. Any items that have passed their expiry date should be safely discarded. Extra stock should be kept in the school.
The visibility of first-aid boxes is crucial and should be given careful consideration. If possible, they should be kept near to handwashing facilities.
Schools must have a room appropriate and readily available to use for caring for sick or injured pupils. It must contain a washbasin and be reasonably near to a WC. The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 apply.
Including first-aid information in induction programmes will ensure that new staff and pupils are told about the first-aid arrangements. It is also good practice to include such information in a staff handbook.
Unless first aid cover is part of a staff member’s contractual duties, first aiders are selected on a voluntary basis. First-aiders must complete a training course approved by the HSE.
First-aiders’ main duties are to give immediate help to casualties with common injuries and those arising from specific hazards at school, and, when necessary, to ensure that an ambulance or other professional medical help is called.
When considering first-aiders, governing bodies and headteachers should take into account an individual’s:
- Reliability and communication skills
- Aptitude and ability to absorb new knowledge and learn new skills
- Ability to cope with stressful and physically demanding emergency procedures
- Normal duties: a first-aider must be able to leave their usual post and go immediately to an emergency.
First aid appointed person
An appointed person:
- takes charge when someone is injured or becomes ill
- looks after the first-aid equipment
- ensures that an ambulance or other professional medical help is summoned when appropriate.
The minimum requirement is that an appointed person must take charge of the first aid arrangements. An appointed person is not a first aider and should not give first aid treatment for which they have not been trained. Any member of staff may volunteer for duties as an appointed person.
There are no rules on the exact number of first aid personnel. This will be a judgement based upon local circumstances and a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
First aid qualifications and training
A first-aider must hold a valid certificate of competence, issued by an organisation whose training and qualifications are approved by the HSE.
A First Aid at Work certificate is only valid for three years. Employers should arrange refresher training and competence testing at least three months before certificates expire. If a certificate expires the individual will have to undertake another full course of training. The standard first-aid-at-work training does not include resuscitation procedures for children, but training organisations will often tailor courses to schools’ needs.
Schools should keep a record of first-aiders and their certification dates.
First aid reporting and recording
Schools should keep a record of any first-aid treatment given by first aiders and appointed persons. This should include:
- The date, time and place of the incident.
- The name of the injured or ill person.
- Details of the injury or illness and first-aid given.
- What happened to the person immediately afterwards (for example, whether they went home, resumed normal duties, went back to class, or went to hospital).
- The name and signature of the first-aider or person dealing with the incident.
Community and voluntary-controlled schools should follow their LA’s procedures.
The information in these records can:
- Help the school identify accident trends and possible areas for improvement in the control of health and safety risks.
- Be used for reference in future first-aid needs assessment.
- Be useful for insurance and investigative purposes.
Employers with ten or more employees must keep readily accessible accident records, in either written or electronic form. These records must be kept for a minimum of three years.
Some accidents are reportable to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).
Check with your employer or local HSE office if you are unsure.
Hygiene and infection control
Staff should take precautions to avoid infection and must follow basic hygiene procedures. Staff should have access to single-use disposable gloves and hand-washing facilities, and should take care when dealing with blood or other body fluids, and when disposing of dressings or equipment.
GK First Aid Training offer the below courses to meet first aid requirements for schools.
1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) This course is designed for people who want to receive training in emergency first aid. It is especially suited for nominated first aiders in smaller, low risk working environments. Employers have to risk assess their workplace first aid requirements. The one day Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) qualification is one of the statutory qualifications for this purpose. This is a 6 hour Course which is approved by the Health and Safety Executive.
First Aid at Work (FAW) The First Aid at Work course Is designed for people who want to receive our most thorough first aid training and is especially suited for nominated workplace first aiders looking to gain comprehensive, certified HSE approval. This course is a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approved course for those businesses that need to meet their requirements under the First Aid at Work regulations. This is an in-depth, comprehensive course for businesses that have identified that they require a higher level of first aid skills due to the type of business, the equipment used or the number staff. It will provide the participants with the skills and knowledge to deal with first aid accidents and emergencies at work as well as illnesses those individuals may develop whilst at work.
2 Day Paediatric First Aid Training Course The two day paediatric first aid courses in London are designed at giving parents and carers confidence, practical ability and knowledge of dealing with ill and injured children and babies. This course meets OFSTED requirements for first aid training in early year’s settings and links to the common core skills of the early years foundation stage. The course is suitable for anyone providing care for children and babies. Candidates will learn essential practical and theoretical skills, so they can deal competently with situations that may arise when caring for children and babies. Ofsted approved Paediatric first aid courses can be run directly at your business or a venue of your choice. The course will last 2 days (12 hours), in accordance with OFSTED guidance.
First Aid and Health and Safety training Courses to meet all Industry Sectors
Whether its Health and Safety Training, Fire Safety Training or First Aid Training: all our courses are designed to ensure you keep working within Health and Safety legislation as well as keeping within the law. We can advised of your training requirements that are best for your business and we can even help you with putting together a training plan to ensure you meet all Legal Requirements from First Aid Training to Fire Safety Training.
First aid requirements for schools – We are confident that we can offer you a competitive price for all your Health and Safety and First Aid Training requirements. Call us directly on 0800 774 7034 and we will be able to discuss your requirements.