What are the responsibilities of a First Aider in the workplace?

What are the responsibilities of a First Aider in the workplace? Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

Not every job is dangerous, but every employer is responsible for the safety of their employees in the workplace. One of the best ways for employers to meet their legal and moral obligations to their employees is to provide first aid training to their staff and our latest article looks at the responsibilities of a first aider in the workplace and what this important role entails.

What is a First Aider?

A first aider is an individual that has been trained to give basic medical help and support to someone injured or unwell. They are not a qualified medical professional, but instead someone that has been given training and assessments to qualify them to safely provide first aid.

First aiders are often trained to respond to emergency medical situations that can happen at any time, such as someone choking, fainting, having a seizure or having an allergic reaction. They provide immediate medical care, often until a more experienced medical professional arrives to take over.

To become a first aider, you must have completed an accredited training course on first aid at work, or other appropriate training or qualifications, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE advises that how much training a first aider requires should be determined by the results of a workplace first aid needs assessment.

Does your workplace need one?

Employers will determine how many first aiders their workplace needs by doing a first aid needs assessment. If a low-hazard workplace has fewer than 25 employees, the HSE recommends that having one first aider may be enough, or that you may not need one at all. However, it is good practice to have at least one trained first-aider in any workplace as you never know when a life-threatening injury or illness could occur or what could cause it.

On average, over 147 people die due to workplace accidents every year, according to data gathered by the HSE. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented if the person had received first aid treatment in time. Unfortunately, the same HSE figures show that only four in ten workers had the skills to provide emergency assistance. Having trained first aiders at your workplace can be the difference.

Their responsibilities

The main duty of a first aider is to provide immediate medical assistance to someone who is injured, sick or experiencing a medical emergency. These duties will depend on the seriousness of the person’s injury/medical complaint, but may include:-


It is important that the first aider evaluates the situation quickly and makes sure it is safe for themselves and the person who is injured or ill. If there are any hazards present at the scene, they will need to take steps to remove them or minimise their risk before  assisting the casualty.

Provide initial care

They will administer appropriate first aid to stabilise the person’s condition and prevent further harm. This may involve performing CPR, controlling bleeding, dealing with choking or addressing other immediate medical needs. They should only use techniques that they have been trained in, otherwise they could cause further harm.

Get professional help

If necessary, the first aider should call the emergency services or instruct someone else to do so. This is particularly important in cases of severe injury, medical emergencies, or when specialised medical attention is required. If they are dealing with a minor injury, it may be more appropriate to call NHS 111 for advice or refer the casualty to their GP.


They must always keep a close watch on the casualty, monitoring vital signs such as their breathing rate, pulse rate, and body temperature. If a person becomes unconscious, the first aider will make sure their airway is clear and that they are breathing and if needed, start CPR.

Record reporting

This includes things like the date, time, and location of the incident, the casualty’s injuries, and the first aid treatment that was provided. Documents such as accident forms provide evidence of the care provided and may be required for legal purposes and they can also be valuable for the ongoing review and improvement of first aid procedures. It is important to consider data protection when keeping a record of incidents.

For further information on the responsibilities of a first aider in the workplace and relevant training courses available through MHSC please contact us here.



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