It’s important to remember that accidents can happen at anytime…

First aid provisions need to be available at all times including: weekends, holidays, sickness and shift cover.

So, how are we meant to know how many first aiders our workplace need?

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

With things like absence and holiday coming into the equation, it means that there will always need to be a backup plan. (It seems like we are not making this easier, but trust us, there is an easier way)

Low Hazard and High Hazard Workplaces:

First let’s assess the risk. By dividing your workplace into one of the above categories, this will be made a million times easier.

Low Hazard Workplaces – E.g. Small offices, small shops and libraries

  1. Are you a workforce of below 25 staff members? If this is the case, you should have one member of staff appointed to take care of your first aid needs
  2. If your workplace has up to 50 people, then you will need an Emergency First Aider (click the link for more information) onsite at all times. This person will have been on the equivalent of a one day First Aid course.
  3. Have more than 50 on your team? Your First Aider needs to be qualified at a higher level – having gone on a 3 day course in order to qualify. They must be onsite at all times

Please note: If this person is absent or annual leave, there must be another member of staff qualified at the same level in order to accommodate for all staff members. For options 2 and 3 this is paramount.

Higher Hazard Workplaces – E.g.- Engineering and assembly work, food warehousing, extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp tools, construction or special hazards such as confined spaces, or dangerous animals.

  1. Fewer than five on your team means that you require an appointed member of staff to deal with first aid needs (much like Low Hazard Workplaces for teams smaller than 25)
  2. Have a team between 5 and 50? You’ll need an appointed first aider on site at all times, however the level of qualification is up to you. It seems wishy-washy, but if you know you have some pretty dangerous machinery, chemicals, and/or animals – this would imply you need to invest in a longer First Aid course to make sure you have covered all ground. If you know that the risk is far less, than a one day course would be suitable, for example.
  3. If you have more than 50 on your team the guidelines become a lot clearer. Your first aider will need to be qualified on a three day course (minimum) in order to be compliant.

However – just like with Lower Hazard workplace, if this member of staff is absent, then instantly you are not covered. It is advisable you have a few members of staff trained to the same level to account for sickness, absence and holidays, too.

More of a visual learner? Don’t worry – as easy as we try and make this for workplaces, sometimes it’s far easier to see the guidelines a little clearer. Click here to view our document and marked table- see page 3 for exact information 🙂

If you have colleagues or friends who also are unable to decide on how many first aiders that they need to appoint, please feel free to share this article with them!


Jessica Clarke-Wheatley

Jessica Clarke-Wheatley

Jessica is the Brand and Communications Officer nationally for SkillBase First Aid. She loves sharing stories about how SkillBase First Aid turns people in 'Standby-Superheroes'.

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