May 27 2020 4 minutes read

First Aid Training in the Age of Social Distancing

First Aid Training in the Age of Social Distancing

Coronavirus has changed our world. Many of the things we’re used to doing are simply no longer possible. Nevertheless, the law regulating first aid training remains. An employer is legally obliged to ensure first aid provisions are in place for any employee taken ill or is injured whilst at work.

Back to work – Review your first aid needs assessment

The requirements for first aid cover in a workplace may be reduced simply because many employees are working from home due to Coronavirus. Maybe some employees are part-trained and need to complete their training. To identify your requirements you need to conduct a First Aid Needs Assessment.

What has changed due to the virus? Does the Assessment need to be modified? If so, how? The First Aid Assessment Needs will identify your requirements to comply with the law. Detailed information and templates are available on the HSE website here:

The Health and Safety Executive has always affirmed that organisations maintain adequate First Aid cover. Quote “If fewer people are coming into your workplace it may still be safe to operate with reduced first aid cover. If possible you could also reduce or stop higher-risk activities.”

Can your workforce continue to work safely?

 If you can’t provide adequate cover for your employees, you should review your first aid needs assessment. Identify if you can still provide the cover needed for the employees that are present according to their working activities.
 Fewer people at the premises may mean your workplace is safe to operate with reduced first aid cover – does that apply to you? Bear in mind if your workplace is operating with reduced first aid cover, higher risk activities may need to be minimised or stopped altogether.
 Sharing first-aid resources with a nearby business
 If your workplace shares office space or is close to other businesses, perhaps sharing first aid cover is an option. Prioritise whether the other workplace first aiders met the requirements for your own operations.
 If you decide to share first aiders, ensure they are competent, have the right training and knowledge to minimise the risks, injuries, and illnesses identified in your first aid needs assessment.
 Shared first aiders must also be conversant with your workplace and the first aid equipment at the site. In an emergency the shared first aider must be able to arrive at a scene quickly. Strongly consider if sharing first aiders with another business compromises the levels of risk in your workplace.

The Health and safety executive has provided guidance on sharing first aid resources.

First aid certificate extension

What about first aid certificate extensions? The HSE has issued a guidance on this matter and has advised that first aid certificates expired on or after 16th March 2020 qualify for an extension.

Do you qualify for a three-month extension? If you’re an Offshore Medic (OM), Offshore First Aid (OFA), or hold a First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates, qualify for an extension. A training provider will ensure you met the criteria to qualify for an extension.

The requalification of first aid has now been extended to 31st September 2020. The DfE (Department for Education) has also mirrored the extension period for Paediatric First Aid courses.

First aid training interrupted by the Covid-19 crisis

If the virus has interrupted your employee first aid training and remains incomplete within the stipulated time frame, the candidate should be able to re-start the training at a later stage. The candidate will need to recap the knowledge to assist with completing the qualification successfully. The training provider has to ensure the criteria set by the Awarding Body are met and the candidate has a full understanding of the course.

When will group training recommence?

Although we are still waiting for further guidance on this from the Health and Safety Executive it is likely first aid classes in group settings will begin again in the not too distant future, although be it with restrictions to observe the social distancing rules.
 All face to face training classes will employ social distancing and thorough hygiene standards. We will ensure attendees maintain a 2-meter space between each other. Use of PPE such as wear gloves, face masks will be encouraged and frequent use of hand sanitizer prioritised.

Although first aid courses can accommodate up to 12 candidates, due to social distancing restrictions this may be reduced depending on the space available. This will be determined by conducting a short risk assessment to identify if running an on-site first aid course meets the social distancing requirements.

To maintain a hygienically safe environment for all each candidate will be issued with their own manikin where possible or a changeable face mask, antibacterial wipes, and a face shield. Guidance on theory and practical assessments will be issued prior to the commencement of the course.

Further details are provided during the time of an enquiry.

Need help with First Aid Training?

Our team at First Aid Safety is on hand to offer guidance on the recent changes and requirements to run a first aid or any other health and safety courses. Contact us to discuss your requirements on 020 7112 8543 or visit our website to use the webchat service.
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