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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
September 23, 2009

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First-aid changes will save UK businesses millions

Amended guidance to the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 comes into force next week, which will see a major change in the training regime for first aid at work (FAW).

From 1 October, the mandatory four-day FAW training courses will be reduced to three days, while small businesses will have the option of a one-day course. All qualified workplace first-aiders will still have to undergo a two-day requalification course every three years. (Click here for an earlier SHP feature article on the new guidelines.)

The aim of the change is to save businesses time and money without compromising health and safety. The new guidelines were produced on the back of extensive consultation with and feedback from employers across the UK, who recognised the need for first-aid training but often found it difficult to release employees for the necessary four days.

Savings in the first year of the new regime are estimated by the HSE to be £52 million.

The new guidance also suggests that refresher training taken annually would be beneficial to first-aiders and their employers, with staff feeling better placed to deal with an incident in their workplace.

Dr Dil Sen, HSE Principal Medical Inspector, said: “First aid can help save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. The revised guidance will help employers get first-aid training that suits their business needs and saves them both time and money.”  

Training provider St John Ambulance welcomed the changes, particularly in light of research it recently carried out, which revealed that compliance with the first-aid regulations is low. Of the 2800 businesses it questioned, 79 per cent said they had times when no first-aider was present, and 18 per cent felt they did not have appropriate first-aid equipment on their premises. Interestingly, the research also found that first-aiders in work environments like offices are more likely to have had to administer treatment for a serious injury than those in workplaces traditionally thought of as higher risk, such as construction sites.

Commented the organisation’s commercial marketing director, Richard Evens: “The message to businesses is simple: carry out a risk assessment based on your actual needs, which covers things like the common injuries that happen in your workplace, then arrange the training. It has never been easier to comply and protect both your workforce and your back pocket.”

To see the list, and for more information on the guideline changes, visit

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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