A review, commissioned by the Government and chaired by Professor Ragnar E Löfstedt recommended that "The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 should be amended to remove the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel."
Professor Löfstedt’s suggestion was that the current HSE approval process went beyond the minimum requirement laid out in EU legislation.
Removing the HSE approval process will give businesses greater flexibility to choose a training provider and first aid training that is right for their work place, and based on their individual business needs. The provider will be required to meet a certain standard, set by HSE.
The legal requirement for employers to ensure they have an adequate number of suitably trained first aiders (or appointed persons) in accordance with their first aid needs assessment will remain unchanged.
Following public consultation, HSE is working towards implementing the necessary changes, subject to HSE Board and Parliamentary approval.
The anticipated changes to the Regulations are expected in October 2013.
HSE has used the responses to the recent consultation exercise to shape three draft guidance documents that reflect the proposed changes in the regulations and the arrangements necessary to put adequate first aid provision in place.
The first guidance document will help businesses to make an assessment of the first aid requirements within their specific workplace and to put the necessary provisions and competent personnel in place.
The second guidance document will help businesses select an appropriate first aid training provider to deliver their training requirements within the new system.
A third document presents example first aid needs assessment scenarios that will help to demonstrate to employers from all sectors the factors that they need to consider to ensure they fully understand their first aid needs and put in place appropriate arrangements in order to comply with the law.
Businesses are not required to take any action until the new regulations come into force, but in the mean time HSE would like to know what you thought of the draft guidance documents. Any comments or suggestions can be sent to email@example.com Please mark any mail ‘Guidance Comments’.
Employers are reminded that until the necessary legislative changes take effect that the existing law continues to apply - all first aid training for the purposes of first aid at work provision must be carried out by an HSE approved training provider or a training centre for an Ofqual accredited awarding organisation supported by HSE to deliver such training (these are listed on the HSE first aid web pages).
Similarly, the current edition of L74, ‘First Aid at Work’ (Approved Code of Practice and Guidance) will remain valid and in force until new legislation and associated guidance takes effect.