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February 21, 2013

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Draft guidance issued on proposed amends to workplace first-aid provision

New draft guidance on the proposed changes to the provision of first aid in the workplace has been published by the HSE.

Following a consultation held at the end of last year, two pieces of guidance have been published on the HSE website to help employers get to grips with the proposed changes and ensure they adopt proportionate arrangements in their workplace.

The consultation was held on the back of a recommendation by Prof Ragnar Löfstedt, in his 2011 review of health and safety for the Government, to amend the First Aid Regulations (1981) and remove the requirement for the HSE to approve first-aid training providers.

The changes are expected to take effect on 1 October, subject to final approval by the HSE Board and ministers. In the meantime, businesses requiring first-aid training will still have to use a HSE-approved provider, and employers will still have to ensure that they have adequate first-aid provision for their individual business needs.

The HSE will retain a role in setting standards by controlling the syllabus content for the basic first aid at work qualifications.

Said HSE policy advisor, Peter Brown: “Removing the HSE approval process will give businesses greater flexibility to choose their own training providers and first-aid training that is right for their workplace, based on their assessment of their individual business needs.

“The draft guidance documents aim to provide practical support to help businesses assess and understand their first-aid needs and find a provider best suited to them.

“HSE has used the feedback from the recent consultation exercise to shape the guidance, but would welcome any further feedback on the guidance before the regulations come into place.”

Richard Evens, commercial training director at first aid-training provider, St John Ambulance, welcomed the change, saying: “Businesses will no longer be limited to choosing a training provider approved by the regulatory body. Employers will therefore have greater flexibility to select their own trainer, but they should carry out thorough checks to ensure that quality of training is not compromised.”

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