Employers need to be aware that from the 1 January 2013 Awarding Organisations regulated by Ofqual, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills (DfES Wales) will be permitted to award a qualification in First Aid at Work (FAW) which will be accepted by HSE for the purposes of compliance with regulation 3(2) of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981.
Awarding Organisations, through their approved training centres will implement the educational assessment standard developed by HSE in consultation with Skills for Health (the relevant sector skills council), Ofqual and the SQA. This standard is hosted by Skills for Health and is free to download from their website.
Employers should note that qualifications obtained from Awarding Organisations will help compliance with the Regulations, are accredited, nationally recognised and are rated on the Qualification and Credit Framework and the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework.
Owing to the proposed legislative changes in first aid (see the consultation document for further details) and operational difficulties encountered by Scout Enterprises Ltd, (the company which monitors approved training providers on behalf of HSE), HSE will stop undertaking proactive monitoring visits of training providers, effective immediately.
HSE will however continue to undertake reactive investigation visits where issues emerge or complaints are received.
All instances of HSE approval of first aid training providers will, irrespective of individual expiry dates, expire at midnight on 5 April 2013, at which point new arrangements will be put in place or legislative change will take effect. This holds true irrespective of individual approval expiry dates and therefore there will not be a requirement to renew any certificate of approval. HSE may revoke or amend the conditions of existing approvals prior to this date if it considers it appropriate to do so.
Organisations whose approval has been suspended due to regulatory non compliance will not be reinstated unless HSE can monitor their training.
You should be aware that organisations approved by HSE to provide qualifications in offshore first aid and for offshore medics under the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989 will continue to be monitored in line with current arrangements as they are unaffected by these changes.
Awarding organisations (AO) who want to offer the above qualifications must write to the HSE, requesting a letter of support that supports delivery of both the FAW and Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) qualifications.
HSE as a ‘key user’ of these regulated qualifications are required by Ofqual to indicate if they are prepared to support such requests. This means AOs (England and Wales) must indicate to HSE that they will comply with the educational standard ‘Assessment Principles For First Aid Qualifications’ found on the Skills for Health website. AOs in Scotland wishing to be approved by HSE to award these qualifications must contact the SQA directly.