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Something I get quite passionate about is First Aid training, whether for the workplace, or the community at large.

For the workplace, it could be that final mitigation for life over death when all other measures have failed.

Appropriate First Aid coverage is a legal requirement for the workplace, yet what should be a simple matter can be so confusing, especially after the changes of the past few years. Additionally, there are now on-line training providers, purporting to offer ‘workplace’ first aid training.

So let’s lay it out in simple terms.shutterstock_198931019

Under the system that has been in place for the past two years, the choice of first aid provision has given greater responsibility to the Employer, who must practice what the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) term ‘Due Diligence’. Whist the HSE set a core syllabus for first aid training, the old system of finding any provider who was HSE Approved has been replaced with 4 options. The Employer can now pick from:

  • The Voluntary or Charity Sector. The British Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance or St Andrews in Scotland. Though First Aid training is actually a commercial activity for these organisations.
  • Trainers offering courses regulated by Awarding Bodies, regulated by national educational agencies, such as OfQual, SQA, etc
  • Trainers offering courses under voluntary accreditation schemes
  • Any other trainer, offering appropriate training.

When selecting a provider/trainer from the first two categories, it’s taken that due diligence has been displayed, but this requirement becomes more burdensome as you move to the 3rd and 4th options. There is a greater need to ensure that a trainer operating under a voluntary scheme is meeting the legal requirements, if only because the employer has to ensure that the accreditation is genuine.

The 4th FAWvestgroup however is a complete wildcard, requiring considerable effort by the employer to show due diligence; personally ensuring the competence and qualifications of the trainer, the suitability of the course content and that quality control exits. This final category is essentially the ‘Buyer Beware’ category; it can potentially be the equivalent of buying the latest mobile device cheap from the guy down the Car Boot Sale!

If that wasn’t enough to contend with, there are now an increasing number of online training organisations purporting to offer “online first aid for work”.
They use phrases like “This online First Aid course is essential for everyone in every workplace”, or “Who Should Take This Workplace First Aid Course?”. All of which could easily be mistaken for meaning that these courses meet legal requirements for First Aid in the Workplace.


First Aid
They Do No Such Thing!
At very best, these online course can meet an HSE recommendation that First Aiders conduct annual refresher training; but at their worst, they are misleading employers into thinking that they have qualified First Aiders in their workplace.
Something which may only be discovered when there is a serious injury or the HSE/Local Authority Inspector comes calling; either way it could result in permanent injury or death of an individual, with extremely serious consequences for the unwitting employer.

To make it perfectly clear, this is a quote directly from the HSE website:
E-learning and blended learning
For the purposes of first aid at work training, regardless of the training an employer selects (FAW, EFAW or some other appropriate training for the circumstances) HSE does not accept e-learning, blended learning or any other form of distance learning as a valid form of delivery.
Training must be delivered face to face. This allows for the hands on, practical approach necessary for first aid training.


So there you have it – Online First Aid Training is not sanctioned nor recognised for the workplace.


If you would like further information about workplace First Aid, whether how to appropriately assess your needs or just to enquire about booking an onsite course, contact us on training@belvoirsafety.co.uk .