Government makes employee health a priority

Speaking earlier this month, Health Secretary Alan Johnson insisted that all organisations must make employee well being a priority in order to achieve a healthy and committed workforce.

The Health Secretary considers that,

"Helping people to stay healthy and well at work improves staff morale as well as productivity, yet there is a lack of clarity about how to do this."

One way is to provide workers with the opportunity to learn first aid. As a market leading provider of first aid at work courses, the British Red Cross believes that first aid training for employees is a vital element in achieving a holistic approach towards staff well being. As well as ensuring that workplace accidents and illnesses are handled correctly, research conducted by the British Red Cross shows that staff who have been provided with the chance to learn life saving skills feel more assured and appreciate their employer for providing them with the opportunity to attend such a course. 100% of those surveyed felt that a first aid course had contributed towards their personal development while 97% of respondents considered themselves of more value to their employer having completed the training. In addition 97% of respondents said that they now felt confident within themselves, and 97% felt more confident in their working life. Anna Brown, Head of Customer Services for Red Cross First Aid Training explains,

"Ensuring that your employees learn first aid is so much more than just complying with your health & safety obligations. Encouraging people to learn a life skill, such as first aid, shows your commitment to the employee and also to the well being of the whole team. The confidence and motivation that it can give to these individuals is invaluable, both in and out of the work place."

The government's Health, Work and Wellbeing strategy was launched in 2005 and was founded upon a growing evidence base that working is good for us. The scheme encourages employers to "ensure that employees are not injured or made ill at work", but with current estimates suggesting that health & safety failures currently cost UK employers up to £6.5 billion per year, it appears that there is still significant progress to be made in improving the safety of UK businesses. Never has this been more important as, with the introduction of the new Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Bill in April, senior management level staff could face personal fines or even a jail term where gross misconduct in the management of health & safety is deemed to have occurred and resulted in a fatality. As the provision of first aid is considered to be a duty of care owed to staff by their employer, gaps in training records or inappropriate numbers of trained staff would leave organisations vulnerable to penalties.

To help companies ensure that they are compliant with the law, British Red Cross has added an online calculator that can advise on the correct category and number of first aid trained staff for your business. For further information, visit  

For further details contact:
Lydia Mottershead
0161 888 8952

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