Research conducted by The British Red Cross has revealed that less than 50% of businesses surveyed were aware of imminent changes to health and safety regulations.
From October 2009 the traditional structure of the first aid at work qualification will change. Guidelines governing the number and category of first aid trained staff will also be updated and businesses will be expected to both be aware of, and adhere to, the adapted legislation.
The announcement of the first changes to Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations in over 25 years comes just three months after the introduction of the landmark Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill. It has never been more essential for businesses to review current practices and ensure that they have enough health and safety trained staff.
Despite this, the British Safety Council's Annual Report has revealed that British employees are still facing severe risk of injury at work. Figures quoted in the 'Safe and Sound?' survey state that the sum of 241 workers killed last year equates to one death for every working day. Lack of health and safety training is highlighted as one of the major reasons for such dismal figures.
This belief is confirmed by the Red Cross survey, which uncovered that of those companies surveyed a large amount were either not compliant with current legislation or were unable to confirm if they adhered to current guidelines. Small and medium sized enterprises appear to be the sector most at risk, as of the larger companies questioned the majority were providing in excess of the mandatory cover.
Your company's first aid training will be affected by changes to health and safety laws and it is vital you are aware of what the changes mean for you and how to remain compliant with the law, but with so many changes taking place in such a short space of time, this can be challenging. Brian Nimick, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council believes,
"The problem is that businesses, particularly those of a small or medium size, are overwhelmed by the mountains of confusing red tape."
British Red Cross First Aid Training has long recognised this pressure and provides a range of support services to help. The main website provides an online calculator tool, allowing you to check how many and the category of first aider you need, and has recently introduced an email alerts service to keep you up to date with the latest changes in legislation.
Along with the assurance that you will be on the right side of the law, the business benefits of providing first aid training for your staff are a great incentive. Annual payouts for accidents and injuries cost the economy £7.8 billion, which is the equivalent of £250 per second. The British Safety Council point out that this figure would allow for 10 new hospitals to be built every year.
Staff retention can also be helped greatly by providing training for employees. First Aid training has been proven to improve self-confidence and motivation among the work force as well as providing the essential skills that may be necessary to save a colleagues life. Anna Brown, Head of Customer Services for British Red Cross First Aid Training explains,
"Ensuring that your employees learn first aid is so much more than just complying with your health and safety obligations. Encouraging people to learn a life saving skill shows your commitment to the employee and also to the well being of your whole team. The confidence and motivation that it can give to these individuals is invaluable both in and out of the working environment."
For further information please contact:
0161 888 8952,
Notes to editors
 British Safety Council Annual Survey 2008.
Registration to the email updates service can be made by calling the British Red Cross' National Customer Service Centre on 0844 871 8000.
The British Red Cross First Aid Training IBrochure is available at: http://redcross.trainingcourses.ibrochures.co.uk/
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
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.