What Are The Responsibilities Of A First Aider?

What Are The Responsibilities Of A First Aider?

What Are The Responsibilities Of A First Aider?

First Aid is the immediate help given to someone who is ill or injured. To keep them safe until they can get more advanced medical treatment. Either by being seen by a doctor, a medical professional or going to hospital.

The role of a first aider is to give someone this help, while making sure that they and anyone else involved are safe. Also that they don’t make the situation worse.

A first aider has various responsibilities when dealing with an emergency situation.

A first aider should:

  • Manage the incident and ensure the continuing safety of themselves, bystanders and the casualty
  • Assess any casualties and discover the nature & cause of their injuries or illnesses
  • Arrange for further medical help or other emergency services to attend. Usually by making an emergency phone call to 999 (in the UK) or 112 (worldwide).
  • If trained, prioritise casualty treatment based upon medical need
  • Provide appropriate first aid treatment that they have been trained to do, and that is reasonable in the circumstances
  • If able, make notes and record observations of casualties, ideally monitoring Vital Signs, and SAMPLE information
  • Provide a handover when further medical help arrives
  • Fill out any paperwork as required following the incident

The first aider is to provide immediate, potentially lifesaving, medical care. Before the arrival of further medical help.

This could include performing procedures such as:

  • Placing an unconscious casualty into the recovery position
  • Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Stopping bleeding using pressure and elevation
  • Keeping a fractured limb still and supported

A first aider’s overall priority should be to preserve life. Other aims of first aid include preventing the worsening of the patient’s condition and to promote recovery.

The ‘workplace’ first aider

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and people. To enable your employees to be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work.

What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in your workplace. The minimum first aid provision on any work site is a suitably stocked first aid kit, and an appointed person to take charge of first aid arrangements. That ‘appointed person’ is usually also a first aider, but doesn’t necessarily have to be.

It is important to remember that accidents and illness can happen at any time. Provision for first aid needs to be available at all times when people are at work. This incudes when driving or working away from site.

The ‘alternative workplace’ first aider

There are many workplaces that don’t fit into the standard description of a workplace. These workers may work in more unusual circumstances, but the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 still apply.

What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances of your particular workplace. It is up to the employer to carry out a First Aid Hazard Assessment, to identify what the requirements are for their specific situation.

What would be considered ‘adequate’ first aid cover on a building site, in a school, or in a shop will be very different. And so the first aid cover required, and the responsibilities of the first aiders in each situation will vary accordingly.

The ‘duty of care’ first aider

First Aid cover is generally required anywhere where there is deemed to be a duty of care in place. This can also include more informal situations, where the first aider is a volunteer leader, at a community sports club, or organised social event.

Where an event or activity has been organised under the banner of a particular group, there is an ‘assumed duty of care’. Therefore a first aider has the same responsibility as if it were a workplace setting.

About The Author

Tom Durham

Tom has 10 years of experience as a first aid trainer / assessor and over 20 years experience of outdoor sports instruction and coaching internationally. Prior to becoming a founder of the First Aid Training Co-operative, Tom grew a successful business delivering predominantly outdoor / remote first aid courses across Scotland, using his experience to help others in the outdoor industry improve their skills. Tom is a graduate of the Rural Leadership Programme and also runs a mountain bike trail design consultancy. He continues to work internationally, dividing his time between Scotland and the Italian Alps.