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Update on the Review of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981

Date: 28 Jan 2006

Following on from the first stage Casella Winton research report and the second stage Discussion Document, HSE made some amendments to the proposals for revising the structure and content of first aid training courses. These amendments were incorporated into a consultation paper which was issued in November 2004 to obtain the views of HSE approved first aid training providers as well as organisations representing employers, employees, emergency medical and paramedic personnel.

The findings of this consultation were broadly consistent with those that emerged from consultation on the Discussion Document. Firstly, there was support for a one day (6 contact hours) course in emergency first aid. Secondly, there was support for shortening the first aid at work course to 18 contact hours although there were training providers who expressed some reservations about this change. Thirdly, annual refresher training was supported although there were concerns about the practicalities of its implementation, including how to ensure first aiders attend annual refreshers and the validity of certificates if they fail to do so. Finally, many suggestions were made for additional topics to be included in the content of the emergency first aid and first aid at work courses.

HSE is continuing to consider options for replacing the current approval and monitoring system for training organisations providing first aid at work courses and is currently gathering more information to help make an informed decision on the way forward. HSE realises that the lack of a decision has caused some uncertainty, particularly in the first aid training industry. However, it is clear that further work is needed to address a number of outstanding issues. It is in the best interests of everyone that any decisions taken are well founded and acceptable across all sections of the industry. For these reasons the current arrangements for first aid training and approval and monitoring will remain in place until further notice (no changes will be implemented in April 2006). HSE will put at least quarterly updates on these web pages indicating how any additional work is progressing and highlighting any significant developments that have occurred. Future editions of a newsletter addressing issues specific to HSE approved first aid training organisations will also be made available on the web pages.

If you have any queries or concerns about first aid at work, please contact HSE Infoline for further information on:

tel 0845 345 0055

fax 0845 408 9566