HSE Consults on First Aid Training Changes
From 22nd October – 3rd December 2012 the HSE consulted on the proposal that it should no longer approve first aid training and qualifications, along with a review of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and the associated guidance.
The consultation is in response to a recommendation in Professor Löfstedt’s review of health and safety, published in November 2011 and will, if approved, result in the amendment of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 (First Aid Regulations).
It is hoped by the HSE that the changes will mean employers can meet their first aid needs assessment while having greater flexibility in their choice of training provider.
The HSE was specifically interested in views on what guidance would be useful to businesses when assessing what they need in terms of first aid provision for their particular circumstances. This would necessitate a revision of the Approved Code of Practice to the Regulations.
Employers will still need trained first aiders to provide first aid to their employees if they become injured or ill at work. However, the changes will remove the requirement for employers to use only training providers and training that have been approved by the HSE, to encourage more flexibility.
This of course means that the burden of deciding who is a competent first aid trainer passes from the HSE to the employer. To help with this the HSE will include in their guidance details of how employers can ensure that the training that they are paying for will allow them to fulfil their legal requirements under the First Aid Regulations.
The guidance will provide information on how to select a competent training provider and will provide a set of criteria against which employers can benchmark the performance of training organisations.
The HSE further proposed that they could provide example case studies for workplaces with different kinds of hazards and numbers of employees, as well as for businesses where members of the public are present such as in the retail and entertainment sectors. The guidance could also include examples of situations where any additional training may be required in the workplace.
Removing the Burden
It is also hoped that the changes will remove the “burden” of applying for and maintaining HSE approval, for those who provide first aid training.
In the Regulatory Impact Assessment, the HSE estimated annual costs to training providers to secure HSE approval for the first time and for renewal certificates and for monitoring and training, as being between £270,000 and
£2.6 million over the HSE approval period.
The total cost savings to all training providers are estimated to be between £3.2 million and £6.4 million, with a best estimate of £4.7 million.
A consultation on the proposed removal of the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve first aid training and qualifications, a review of the Approved Code of Practice and the content of associated guidance can be accessed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd248.htm.
First Aid Training Types
HSE is not proposing any changes to the current four-level ‘framework’ of aid at work provision which will remain:
- Appointed Person
- Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW – one day course)
- First Aid at Work (FAW – three day course)
- Additional skills/knowledge for particular environments/circumstances (e.g. defibrillator provision, working with hydrofluoric acid or excessive distance from an A+E Department).
In addition, the HSE anticipates that nationally recognised and accredited qualifications will be available covering both Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) and First Aid at Work (FAW).