How many trained first aiders do I need in my workplace?

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 states that you must provide adequate and appropriate first aid coverage.

This is vague by necessity, as the numbers of trained first aiders you will need depends upon the risks present in your particular workplace.

As a starting point, we can group workplaces into general risk categories.

Please note, our recommendations are for your guidance only and you will need to undertake a full risk assessment to correctly identify your First Aid requirements.

How many first aiders do I need in a shop, office or library?

Working environments like these are considered ‘Low-risk’, as any dangers in the workplace can be identified and mitigated easily. You can identify risks by completing a risk assessment – we’re created a helpful risk assessment checklist you can download for free.

For example, as a minimum, a first aid box should be provided and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, such as calling the emergency services if required. You’ll also need to provide first aid information to your employees.

If your workplace has less than 25 employees, one appointed person is the minimum legal requirement. However, we would recommend sending this appointed person on a basic first aid course to give them the confidence to act when needed.

If your workplace has between 25 and 50 employers, at least one first aider is required. This first aider should attend a course appropriate for your workplace. An Emergency First Aid at Work course is appropriate for Low-risk workplaces.

If you have more than 50 employees, a first aider for every 100 employees is the guidance, so if you have 101 employees, you need at least 2 first aiders. These first aiders should be qualified to First Aid at Work level (3 day course), and and be assigned to different areas of the business to prevent overlap and ensure adequate coverage.

How many first aiders do I need in a warehouse or light processing environment?

These are mainly medium risk environments with machinery and equipment which might be harmful if used incorrectly. In these spaces, we’d recommend completing a risk assessment using our helpful risk assessment checklist, then contact us for more detailed guidance.

As these spaces are riskier, the number of trained first aiders required increases.

If you have fewer than 20 employees, at least one appointed person is required. They will handle first aid situations within the workplace. However, we would recommend this person attends an industry specific first aid course. For example, if you handle chemicals, a COSHH course might be appropriate alongside an Emergency First Aid at Work course.

If you have between 20 and 100 employees, at least one first aider is required with an appropriate qualification for the environment in which they work.

Finally, with more than 100 employees, you should add a first aider for every 100 employees, as above. Again this first aider should be qualified with an appropriate qualification for their environment.

How many first aiders do I need in a high-risk environment?

A high-risk environment could include construction sites, chemical plants and anywhere heavy machinery is used.

In high-risk environments, we’d recommend that you complete a risk assessment and double check it with a trained professional. You can contact us here for more details.

With fewer than 5 employees, having at least one appointed person is required. For over 5 employees, you’ll need a trained first aider, then you’ll require an additional trained first aider for every additional 50 employers.

Again, the type of qualification that these first aiders should have is dependent on their working environment. The HSE has acknowledged that traditional work place first aid courses may not be the best course for some sector workers.

Environment Specific Training

The main thing to remember when trying to identify your first aid requirements is that the cover you provide should be appropriate to the environment in which your organisation operates. There are a lot of things to consider and we’ve answered some FAQs briefly below. Once you’ve completed your risk assessment form, the best thing to do is get in touch and we’ll help you identify which type of course is going to be most suitable.

Exceptions and FAQs

What is an Appointed Person?

An appointed person is responsible for maintaining any first aid equipment and contacting the emergency services when they are required.

What about holiday and sickness cover, or different working patterns?

It is your responsibility to make sure you have sufficient first aid cover – an absent first aider can’t save a life. This might mean you need to train multiple employees or even your whole team to provide guaranteed cover. This includes shift workers too you need to ensure that all shifts are covered adequately.

The easiest way to do this is to book a private course at your premises, where we come directly to you and complete all the training on-site, tailored to your situation.

What about lone, remote or traveling workers?

If your staff work alone, they can’t be covered by a first aider back at base. However, you are still responsible for meeting the first aid needs for these employees.

At a minimum, these staff should carry a personal first-aid box, be issued with a mobile phone, and a ‘safe home’ procedure should in use.

Can I choose a different type of first aid course other than First Aid at Work courses?

Yes. You should choose the most appropriate type of training to the environment in which you operate. That may be an Outdoor First Aid, or Paediatric First Aid course, or one of our Emergency First Aid at Work courses with added Outdoor, Forestry, Drivers CPC, Hospitality, or Golf modules.

How often must I refresh first aid training?

Although most qualifications require refreshing every 3 years, we strongly recommend that staff attend first aid training annually, to help maintain their basic skills and keep them up to date with any changes in first aid procedures.

What about Mental Health First Aid?

The HSE also recommends that Mental Health First Aid cover is also considered as part of your risk assessment. You can find out more on our blog.

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