What is a First Aid Needs Assessment?

Simply put, a First Aid Needs Assessment is like a risk assessment but for your businesses first aid requirements.

All employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that there is appropriate first aid resources available, including trained first aiders, first aid equipment, and potentially a first aid room.

To create one, you’ll need to understand your business and workplace. Therefore, there is no standard document or template, just a requirement that the first-aid provision must be ‘adequate and appropriate’.

What does ‘adequate and appropriate’ mean?

This is what a first aid needs assessment aims to discover. You’ll evaluate your workplace and discover hazards and risks, then implement processes, purchase equipment and train staff to lessen these risks.

For the average office, this might mean purchasing first aid equipment, removing unnecessary risks from your office environment and having trained personnel available at all times.

For other environments, such as supermarkets, construction sites and chemical plants, the HSE has produced a series of case studies to help you with your first-aid needs assessment. These are a helpful starting point, but every workplace is different and will have different risks.

How do I complete a first aid needs assessment?

  1. Start by downloading our first aid risk assessment template here
  2. Complete the questions, making sure you carefully consider the needs of all workers within your business. This includes those that might work off-site or in remote locations.
  3. Once you’ve completed the form, review the HSE guidelines here. It’s a complicated document and we’re always happy to provide impartial advice – do get in touch.

What do I need to consider as part of our first aid needs assessment?

in assessing your first aid needs, you should consider:

  • the nature of the work you do
  • workplace hazards and risks (including specific hazards requiring special arrangements)
  • the nature and size of your workforce
  • the work patterns of your staff
  • holiday and other absences of those who will be first aiders 
  • your organization’s history of accidents

Additionally, a business should consider:

  • the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
  • the distribution of your workforce
  • the remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
  • whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
  • first aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public).

Do I need a mental health first aider?

“You should consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees, employing occupational health professionals, appointing mental health trained first aiders and implementing employee support programmes.”

 Health and Safety Executive 2019

Following your first aid needs assessment you might decide that it would be beneficial to have someone trained to identify and understand symptoms of a mental health issue.

We would urge all employers to consider mental heath. Mental health is a leading cause of absences and nominating a mental health first aider could improve workplace productivity. There are now complete mental health first aid courses available, training your staff on how to spot signs of mental ill-health and help them develop the skills required to help. It’ll also help them build mental resilience.

Mental Health First Aid Course for Employers

This free course will help you reach HSE requirements and build a happier and more productive workplace. With 7.7% of all workplace absences caused by stress, it’s time to change our workplaces for the better.

  • Day 1: What does a mental health first aider do?
  • Day 2: How does a mental health first aider benefit the workplace?
  • Day 3: Who should become a mental health first aider?
  • Day 4: What will staff learn on a mental health first aid course?
  • Day 5: What Mental health First Aid courses are available?