This one is kind of true. But, some rules are meant to be broken… 😉

While workplace first aid does not include giving tablets or medicines to treat illness, there also has to be some common sense. If an adult asks you if you have any paracetamol for their headache,  then you are welcome to help them out. You are not recommending that they take the medication, you are not prescribing or forcing them – an adult is allowed to make that choice themselves. You’re not obliged to help them out, but we’d all probably hope they would do the same for us!

We’ve seen people say ‘I’m not allowed to give you any medication, but if I leave it on the desk, and then leave the room, then you can decide to take it if you want’. Crazy. As long as we are not talking prescribed or over-the-counter medication (or anything harder for that matter!) then we’re of course okay to help them.  The HSE do say that tablets and medicines should not be kept in the first aid box, but there is no problem with keeping a stock with them safely elsewhere. And lets face it – if we did leave them in the first aid box, they’d all disappear in no time! 😯

There are times when medication is needed in a life threatening emergency. For example, if aspirin is given to someone with a suspected heart attack, it can save their life. You’d need an ambulance in this situation, so you can always ask for advice form ambulance control. Similarly, there are times when people need assistance, for example with adrenaline auto-injectors (AAI’s) for the treatment of Anaphylaxis.

Common sense is key, to keeping a happy, healthy and headache free workplace 🙂

The bottom line: It’s okay to offer colleagues tablets or medication. Another first aid myth busted! 


Richard - Founder & Course Originator

Richard is the Founder & CEO at SkillBase First Aid


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