12 June 2008 - Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations will soon face their biggest shake up in 25 years. The Health and Safety Executive has consulted with industry stakeholders about changes that could see the four-day first aid at work qualification being replaced by a three-day course and the introduction of an HSE accredited 1-day course named Emergency First Aid at Work.
To ensure compliance with the new regulations, employers will be required to carry out an assessment of first aid needs. This involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors. Such risk assessments have always been a legislative requirement, but the HSE guidelines have been revised to better complement the updated courses.
The changes are expected to be implemented in mid 2009, leaving companies limited time to familiarise themselves with the new rules and decide upon any appropriate action for their business. British Red Cross First Aid Training is promising to help industry overcome this information gap by offering an email updates service that will bring the latest information on the changes, and how they may affect your business, directly to your desktop.
Figures published by the HSE last month state that 2006 - 07 was the worst period for injury and ill health at work for four years, with one in every one hundred employees experiencing a non-fatal reportable injury at work. These are not surprising figures when placed in the context of research conducted by the British Safety Council which suggests that as many as 62% of workers had received little or no health and safety training. The result is that employers face an annual bill of £7.8 billion for pay outs and costs for accidents and injuries at work, the equivalent of £250 a second. 
All businesses are required to provide "adequate and appropriate" equipment and personnel to provide first aid should an employee become ill or injured at work. This obligation will remain unchanged following the introduction of the new courses, but without a hard and fast rule to dictate the number and category of first aider required, many become confused about what is considered appropriate to their place of work, often leading to no training at all being offered.
The Red Cross has been offering advice on remaining compliant with health and safety obligations and a full portfolio of first aid at work courses for the past twenty six years and is promising to make the transition as painless as possible for businesses by providing clear, straightforward explanations of the new requirements.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.
For further information please contact:
Tel: 0161 888 8952