First Aid within the workplace is of vital concern, not only for employers, but also for employees.
Back in October 2013 the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations were amended, removing the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications. Full details of this can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l74.htm
What does this mean for you an Employer? well it means that YOU are responsible for ensuring the quality of the first aid training you procure; AND you have to undertake due diligence on your training provider if your first aiders undertake first aid qualifications that are not regulated by Ofqual or SQA. However you do not need to undertake any due diligence if your first aiders undertake regulated first aid qualifications.
There are FOUR training options available that replaced the HSE accredited training system;
- Awarding Organisations – fully regulated training and a direct replacement to HSE Accreditation
- Voluntary Aid Societies – unregulated training based on HSE standards
- Industry Body – unregulated training which is not verified by HSE or an Awarding Body
- Independent – unregulated training which is not verified by HSE or an Awarding Body
First Aid training obtained through a training provider accredited by an Awarding Organisation offers nationally recognised qualifications fully regulated by Ofqual, SQA and the Welsh Government. They have dedicated quality assurance processes and adhere to standard assessment principles, which gives Employers a ‘ready-made’ assurance of their providers competence to deliver appropriate training.
No due diligence is required by Employers who choose this training option.
Voluntary Aid Societies
First Aid training obtained through Voluntary Aid Societies such as St John Ambulance, British Red Cross or St Andrew’s First Aid offer non-accredited qualifications that are not regulated or verified externally. They are acknowledged by the HSE as standard setters of currently accepted First Aid Practice, and work to similar standards of quality assurance and assessment principles as accredited providers. However the HSE recommend that companies undertake some due diligence when choosing this training option.
First Aid training obtained through the Industry Body offers unaccredited qualifications that are not regulated or verified externally at all. As HSE cannot verify standards of quality assurance or assessment principles, full due diligence must be undertaken by Employers when choosing this training option.
First Aid training obtained through an Independent Organisation offers unaccredited qualifications that are not regulated or verified externally at all. As HSE cannot verify standards of quality assurance or assessment principles, full due diligence must be undertaken by Employers when choosing this training option.
Due Diligence Processes
Unless you choose the accredited training option the responsibility for ensuring competence in First Aid Training is the Employer’s. To ensure that training is fit for purpose the following must be confirmed;
1. Syllabus is appropriate and delivered in accordance with currently accepted standards
All training materials used, such as instructors manuals, delegate handbooks/ workbooks and PowerPoint, must reflect nationally recognised standards for first aid practice.
2. Trainers and assessors have the necessary skills, qualifications and competencies
Full details of the trainers used, with validated copies of First Aid at Work certificates, instructor certificates, valid insurance certificate and their formal training/ teaching qualifications must be recorded by the provider.
3. There is a Quality Assurance system in place to ensure regular independent verification
The provider must have a Quality Assurance process in place to validate and update all materials, ensure that the competence of trainers is regularly reviewed by competent ‘verifiers’, and that assessment methods in use are appropriate with a full, accurate record retained.
4. Class sizes are appropriate to the needs and capabilities of the group
HSE recommend maximum class sizes of 12 per instructor however it is feasible to potentially have larger groups as long as it can be shown there is no detriment to the learner’s ability to perform, practice and update their skills.
5. Equipment provided is suitable and sufficient
All equipment must be sterilised correctly, maintained and replaced according to current guidelines.
6. Certificates issued contain all relevant information about the candidate and course
Certification must be properly awarded and monitored, with internal verification appropriate and robust.
There is no requirements for how these checks are carried out, formalised or written down, however a written record would enable you to demonstrate to the HSE or Local Authority Inspector how you ensured due diligence in selecting a competent First Aid Training Provider.
Additional Considerations for the Employer
Before deciding upon your First Aid Training provision Employers should read the above information carefully and also consider these additional points;
- How would you ensure that the necessary due diligence was completed correctly? Well the HSE has kindly created a seven page document covering how these ongoing checks should be undertaken and the documents that are needed. Please note that trade bodies, badge schemes and other third-party assurances do not remove the legal responsibility from the employer.
- Does your Company Policy, Industry Standards and Insurance Policy accept unaccredited First Aid Training?
Save yourself LOTS of time by choosing Rutland First Aid Training as your local First Aid Provider as we only run regulated first aid at work qualifications, so you can rest assured that you have fulfilled your legal responsibilities for providing quality first aid training without having to undertake any due diligence.
Contact us to discuss your First Aid Training