First Aid Training During COVID – What you need to know

Fulfilling first aid requirements as part of your health and safety procedures is an important part of operations. Find out everything you need to know about maintaining your first aid obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.    

As a business operator, it’s important to fulfill your obligations to your teams in providing adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and personnel. And this means there should always be a trained first aider on site at all times.

However, like many things this year, you may have experienced some disruption to your planned first aid training. It’s important you know how this impacts you and your first aider’s status and what your responsibilities are.

In this article, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about first aid training during the pandemic.

What are my first aid obligations as an employer?  

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 outlines the responsibilities of employers in providing accessible first aid. All employers are required to carry out an assessment of first aid needs. This involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what first aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided.

All workplaces must have a stocked first aid kit, an appointed first aider (or first aiders) who have received adequate and up to date training as well as information and resources to highlight first aid arrangements to employees.

To become a qualified workplace first aider, a practical face-to-face training course with an approved first aid training provider is required to demonstrate the ability to administer first aid. Your certificate will qualify you for three years and must be renewed within the three years to retain qualified first aider status.

It is also recommended by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that annual refresher training should be undertaken to top-up knowledge and keep you up to date with any changes.

What do I need to do if my first aid certificate is due to expire?      

Under usual circumstances you would be expected to renew your practical first aid training to retain your first aider status for another three years. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there have been many disruptions to face-to-face training courses that may have affected your planned training. Although first aid providers have resumed training and assessment, in some cases there remains a backlog or limited availability.

The HSE has issued guidance to help employers stating First Aid at Work and Emergency First Aid at Work certificates that expired after 16th March 2020 may qualify for an extension that can allow certificates to remain valid until 31st October 2020 or 6 months from the date of expiry, whichever is later. All re qualification training for these certificates should be completed by 31st March 2021.

First Aid Training During COVID – What you need to know

Do I qualify for an extension?

The HSE states that to qualify for the extension, employers must be able to demonstrate that:

  • they have made every effort to arrange requalification training as soon as possible and can explain in detail why they have not been able to do so. For example, they must show evidence that staff with expired certificates are booked on to EFAW or FAW requalification courses, if requested by an inspector
  • they have adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to give first aid to any employee who is injured or becomes ill at work
  • the level of first aid cover provided remains appropriate for their particular work environment
  • the level of first aid provision necessary in high risk settings is fully maintained, e.g. in construction, agriculture, engineering, and chemicals

The guidance applies to employers in England, Scotland and Wales.

Annual refresher training  

Due to the potential limited availability of face to face training the HSE supports the use of online refresher training to keep skills up to date. If you have been planning to undertake refresher training, you could consider taking an online course instead, until you are able to attend face to face training again.

The HSE still strongly recommends that the practical elements of actual FAW, EFAW and re qualification courses are delivered face to face, so the competency of the student can be properly assessed.

Interrupted first aid training

If you were working towards your first aid qualification and didn’t have a chance to complete it in the usual timeframe due to the pandemic, you can restart at a later date as long as the following criteria apply:

  • a full recap of training delivered before the interruption is done before moving onto undelivered modules
  • the awarding body is content that you can show:
    • a full understanding of all aspects of the course content
    • the knowledge required and competencies at the end of the training

First aid resources  

If you are looking to gain your first aider qualification or renew or qualification you can read more about our face to face training on our sister site, CPL Training. Click the links below to find out more:  

We also have the following online course available:

Or you can contact our team to find out what you need to do to fulfill your first aid requirements.

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