The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 make it a requirement for employers to provide ‘adequate and appropriate’ first-aid equipment as well as trained employees so that if someone becomes ill or is injured at work then immediate help can be given.

The employer has to carry out a risk assessment to determine exactly what equipment and  trained personnel are required.  This assessment is based on the nature of the hazards in the workplace, the number of employees, the history of accidents and ill-health, the nature of the work being carried out along with other factors.

As a result of changes to legislation, from 1 October 2013 the HSE no longer approves first-aid training and qualifications. For an HSE guide as to how employers should choose a training provider please use the following link

The suggested numbers of trained personnel is given in the table below although you also have to consider shift work, absences or the fact that the first aider may themselves become injured or be taken ill.


Risk Category

No. of Employees

Minimum Number of First Aiders

Low Hazard
e.g. shops, offices, libraries

Fewer than 25

  At Least 1 Appointed Person at all times.

25 – 50 to 100

  At least 1 first-aider trained in EFAW
More than 50   At Least 1 more First Aider trained in FAW for every 100 employed (or part thereof).

Higher Hazard
e.g. any construction work, slaughter houses, chemical manufacture, work with machinery or sharp instruments.

Fewer than 5

  At least 1 Appointed Person at all times.

5 to 50

  At least 1 First Aider trained in EFAW or FAW depending on the type of injuries that mightoccur.

More than 50

  At least 1 more First Aider trained in FAW for every 50 employed or part thereof.


You may decide that all you need is one or more appointed person.  The HSE now defines an appointed person as someone who will look after first-aid equipment and will call the emergency services when required.  They may also cover for a first-aider where the first-aider is absent (only due to unforeseen circumstance).  Strictly speaking appointed persons do not need to have training although it would be sensible if they were to attend a one day Emergency First Aid course which need not be HSE approved.

For those working with children training requirements are specified by Ofsted and the Childrens’ Workforce Development Council.

For more information on legal compliance and training requirements please contact us
or consult the following websites – or


News Article

‘Many lacking first aid skills’
‘Only one in 13 people feel confident they could carry out first aid on those ill and injured, a survey suggests.’

BBC News 01/02/10