When an employee either has an accident or falls ill while at work, it is their employer’s legal responsibility to ensure that the person receives immediate attention. Prompt treatment can make the difference between a minor injury and a major one; it can sometimes make the difference between life and death.
The Health and Safety First Aid Regulations 1983 stipulate that an employer is required to provide equipment, facilities and trained personnel that are ‘adequate and appropriate’. Determining the needs of any business requires a thorough assessment of first-aid needs, although the absolute minimum should include a first-aid box, an appointed person and clearly displayed information about first-aid arrangements for employees.
If you have decided that there is only minimal risk of injury or illness in the workplace, you may feel that having a qualified first-aider is unnecessary.
In this case, you may choose to simply have an appointed person in-site. This person does not need to be qualified, and will simply take responsibility for maintaining the first-aid kit and for contacting the emergency services.
While this may seem like a more simple option that removes the need to provide first aid at work training, it does increase the risk any employee will be exposed to in the case of accident or illness. Even an emergency first aid at work course can prepare an appointed person to deal with an emergency in a confident and calm manner.