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First Aid on Construction Sites – Do You Meet these 3 Requirements?
Posted by David Cant on October 7, 2014

First Aid on Construction Sites – Do You Meet these 3 Requirements?

cartoon character in hospital with First AidUnfortunately, accidents happen to even the very safest of us, especially on construction sites. It’s just a high hazard place to be. And while 95% of health and safety is prevention, the rest is what to do when an accident inevitably occurs.

If you’re ready with the right first aid and trained first-aiders, you can make the difference between the injury being a minor one, a major one, or a fatal one.

So here’s what you should have – does your site tick these three first aid boxes?

One: a big enough first aid box

You need one with enough equipment to cope with all the workers on your site at once. Sounds excessive maybe, but you never know what can happen.

Two: enough first-aiders (or appointed people) on site

This varies depending on how many workers you have and what kind of shifts they work.

Fewer than 5 workers

– you need at least one appointed person, not a fully trained first-aider because these are very low risk sites.

The appointed person doesn’t need first aid training, according to the HSE. But if a trained first-aider is absent for some reason, they provide whatever emergency cover they can.

They also look after the equipment and any first aid facilities, making sure there’s always enough of both. And they’re the ones who call emergency services if need be.

Of course it’s best to have a trained first-aider on any construction site – it’s a very high hazard industry! But this is the HSE’s bare minimum requirement for 1 to 4 workers.

Five to 50 workers

– here you need at least one first-aider, who’s trained in a first aid qualification.

So this is a valid (within 3 years) certificate of competence in either First Aid at Work (FAW), which should have been issued by an approved training organisation or the Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) qualification, again from a fully approved organisation.

There are 4 approved options available:

1 -Regulated i.e. via one of the many Awarding Bodies who are Ofqual, SQA, or Welsh Govt regulated across the UK.

2 – Trade Bodies voluntary accreditation

3 – Voluntary Sector – Red Cross, St Johns, St Andrews.

4 – Totally unregulated or quality controlled, requiring utmost due diligence by employer.

EFAW is usually a one-day course, and FAW can take up to 3 days, and covers treatment to specific injuries and illnesses.

So there’s all the technical qualification jargon for you.

Remember, one first-aider on site at all times will often mean having two on the team to cover shift patterns and absences.

Over 50 workers

– you need at least one FAW-trained first-aider for every 50 workers on the really big sites. Again, that means one on site at all times, so more first-aiders in total to cover shift patterns.

Three: clear first aid info for your workers

Here’s where many sites fall down. You may have great equipment and a highly trained first-aider, but if your workers aren’t very clear on who that is and what to do when an accident happens, it’s not much use!

Injuries can turn from bad to really bad in seconds, and how quickly the first-aider gets to them can save lives. Make sure your workers are very aware of the ‘who, what and where’ of your on-site first aid. At least a notice in the site hut will get this info across. And regular reminders will hammer it home.

Do you have any questions about your on-site first aid?

Ask away, always happy to talk.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

You can find him across Social media - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

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