As we now see a light at the end of the tunnel and are starting to see restrictions being lifted across the UK, this regularly updated blog explains the situation and what our approach is. Read on to find out more.
Last Updated 26/05/21 15:00
Can I do a first aid course?
The answer is ‘Yes’, where circumstances allow. A private first aid course can be run with mitigation measures in place. The continuing ability to provide essential training such as first aid is seen as a priority by government agencies such as the HSE.
The latest HSE guidance states (For England):
The policy position of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is that first aid training required to comply with health and safety or other legislation can continue to take place under relevant coronavirus restrictions in England. All possible measures must be taken to ensure that both training activities and environment are COVID-secure.
The Scottish Government has informed HSE that first aid training can be permitted under the current coronavirus restrictions, given the following considerations:
– The training is a required part of the work or operation of the business commissioning the training (e.g. is necessary for compliance with health and safety or other legislation)
– Other requirements for businesses and individuals under the current restrictions are met
– All controls necessary are in place to comply with relevant regulations and guidance published by the Scottish Government and any additional measures necessary to ensure the training activities and environment are COVID-secure are taken.
The Welsh Government has informed HSE that first aid training can be permitted under the current coronavirus restrictions, given the following considerations: The training is a required part of the work or operation of the business commissioning the training (e.g. is necessary for compliance with health and safety or other legislation)
– Other requirements for businesses and individuals under the current restrictions are met
– All controls necessary are in place to comply with relevant regulations and guidance published by the Welsh Government and any additional measures necessary to ensure the training activities and environment are COVID-secure are taken
Unlike previously during the ‘lockdown’ periods of the last year, we are now able to deliver courses for anyone who needs one, as long as the Covid Mitigation measures can be met. In short, the biggest barrier to meeting the Covid Mitigation requirements is adequate space at a venue. If you have a space big enough to maintain social distancing, (min. 10m x 10m for a group of 12 people) we can run your course.
My organisation needs to refresh our staff members’ first aid qualifications imminently, what can we do?
In first aid terms, the responsibility for workers’ safety rests with the employer. As businesses and other organisations start to return to some type of normality, thoughts are turning to ensuring that all health and safety regulations are met, including first aid.
As described above, we can take bookings for private courses now and are running them across the UK. You’ll need to be sure that you are able to provide a suitable venue in which the course can be held, return our venue risk assessment form to us, and ensure that all Covid Mitigation regulations can be strictly adhered to. This is not onerous however, and just requires some common sense approaches that we are all used to now.
Alternatively, if you would like to ensure that you are doing everything you can to meet the HSE’s requirements, but are struggling to find a venue currently, we can arrange a course with you for a date in the future. This allows you to have something in the diary at least and would be considered best practice during the current time.
Remember too that the majority of our courses can be delivered as Blended Learning. This means that the requirement for venue size is greatly reduced because the face to face practical assessment is only done in small groups of 3, while the rest of the course is online.
I’m an individual and need to do a first aid course imminently to allow me to work, what can I do?
While we are continuing to experience some challenges in running public courses due to our partner venues not being able to open, the majority are now able to open and we have an almost full programme of courses scheduled.
We have large waiting lists for most of our public first aid courses at present and we are putting on extra dates to accommodate everyone as best as we can. We’d like to thank our extremely patient clients in the meantime as we work through the challenges!
What about existing first aid qualification expiry extensions?
The HSE and Department for Education’s statement detailing the guidance for the extension of validity for workplace first aid qualifications including Paediatric First Aid qualifications has not changed. All extended validity certificates expired on 31st March 2021.
If your first aid qualification has expired, it is now completely expired and there are no more extensions available. This means that you must renew your qualification in order to stay qualified.
Can I refresh my first aid qualification?
We are regularly asked whether a first aid qualification can be refreshed, and the answer in most cases is that the original course is simply repeated in order to refresh, regain, or renew the original qualification.
In the case of First Aid at Work (FAW) 3 Day courses, these can be refreshed by doing a First Aid at Work Refresher 2 Days course, but only if the existing qualification is still valid on the start date of the refresher course. If your FAW qualification has expired during the last months of Covid restrictions, you must now retake the full 3 day course as certificate extensions have now ended.
Can I refresh my First Aid Course online?
Some organisations are offering fully online first aid courses. However these are not recommended by the HSE and should not be considered as an alternative to a proper first aid course.
Blended Learning first aid courses such as those that we offer include a practical assessment of the practical aspects of the course. These are an approved substitute for full face to face courses.
Blended learning first aid courses
We are now able to offer Blended Learning format private first aid courses to employers and other organisations for:
- Emergency First Aid at Work,
- Emergency First Aid at Work +F (Forestry),
- First Aid at Work,
- First Aid at Work +F,
- Outdoor First Aid,
Blended Learning courses provide a much easier way of satisfying the Covid Mitigation requirements and greatly reduce both the number of people who are in a room at any time, and the length of time they need to spend there.
These are available to book now. Please contact the office as usual to enquire about doing so.
Annual First Aid Updates Online
We are also now providing a completely online Annual First Aid Update course. This is recommended as ‘best practice’ by the HSE and provide a great way of keeping yourself or staff up to date until you are due to refresh your full qualification.
Please note that Annual Update courses do not affect the validity of your first aid qualification in any way.
What precautions have we been taking on first aid courses?
The Coronavirus is still at large and we continue to do everything we can to minimise the spread of the virus, whilst ensuring that our clients and students can continue to receive life-saving training.
First Aid courses involve a lot of interpersonal contact between students. We are always aware of preventing the spread of bacteria on courses and take many precautions as standard, such as using anti-bacterial hand gel regularly, limiting the sharing of CPR manikins to 1 manikin for every 2 students, using manikin face shields and wipes, and nitrile or vinyl gloves.
As the situation progressed early in the pandemic, we took further steps to minimize the interpersonal contact whilst ensuring the training we deliver remains of high quality. This included supplying our training team with extra consumables such as manikin face shields and manikin wipes to ensure they are well stocked.
We have also adapted our CPR training session to avoid the sharing of manikins whilst retaining the 1:2 ratio and peer to peer learning element of the course that is so powerful. The Resuscitation Council UK have provided guidance, supported by Consultant Microbiologists from the NHS that the usual manikin hygiene practices we employ are sufficient to prevent the spread of virus, bacteria and other pathogens. Our redoubled approach to on-course hygiene goes a big step further than the Resuscitation Council guidance.
We have also initiated a suite of Covid Mitigation measures for students, venues and courses. As mentioned above there is a new booking process that we’ll take you through which includes these and helps to ensure that everyone will be safe on their course, or practical assessment in the case of a Blended Learning option.
You might be interested in our Director Cory’s blog detailing his experience of how he is running Covid safe first aid courses at the moment. Its been a popular and re-assuring read for many of our clients. https://firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk/how-we-are-safely-teaching-first-aid-during-covid-19/
Testimonial – R. Ward
R. Ward, The Elisabeth Curtis Centre RDA group
Testimonial – I. Field
I. Field, Gaddesden Place RDA Centre
Testimonial – A. Francis
A. Francis, Edinburgh
Testimonial – D. Daniell
D. Daniell, Edinburgh
Testimonial – K. Arnold
K. Arnold - West Mercia RDA
Testimonial – A. Wood
A. Wood, Edinburgh
Testimonial – A. Honeyman
A. Honeyman, Wakefield RDA
Testimonial – C. Hopkins
C. Hopkins, Edinburgh
Is the First Aid Training Co-operative office open?
Yes, our cloud based office processes allow us to work from almost anywhere. You can call or email during office hours and we’ll be happy to speak to you.
Yes. First Aid courses can be run with full Covid mitigation measures in place. These include requiring a large venue to ensure that social distancing measures can be maintained.
The certificate extensions for first aid qualifications that expired through the pandemic have now finished (31/03/21). Therefore if your certificate is expired, you must now renew the course in order to stay qualified.
Yes, where Covid Mitigation measures can be adhered to. Venue choice is critical and there needs to be a very large open space as a starting point to allow 2m distance to be maintained between participants.
Fully online first aid courses are not recommended as there has to be a face to face assessment of the practical skills. Blended courses rather than fully online are a good alternative however.
First Aid at Work Refreshers can only be completed while a previous qualification remains valid. All Covid qualification extensions have now ended (31/03/21), so you must now do the full 3 day First Aid at Work course again to renew your qualification.