First aid: Make sure your boxes are ticked

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Given that every workplace situation is different, it can be difficult for HR to determine what is an acceptable ratio of first aid officers to employees.

The relevant workplace health and safety legislation doesn’t help that much, prescribing that employers must provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, a safe working environment and adequate facilities for the welfare of their employees. On the question of how many trained first aid staff to have on site, the HR department is left to its own devices to measure the risks against the specific needs of an individual workplace.

If you’re looking for some guidance, however, the Red Cross provides a useful list that, at the very least, is a great starting point.

In low-risk workplaces (eg office):
- one first aid officer for 10 to 50 employees
- two first aid officers for 51 to 100 employees
- an additional first aid officer for every additional 100 employees.

In higher-risk workplaces (eg factory):
- one first aid officer for up to 25 employees
- two first aid officers for 26 to 50 employees
- an additional first aid officer for every additional 50 employees

Need an officer?

The St John Ambulance service offers Emergency Level A courses, which cover basic emergency first aid for adults, for $109*. The certificate, which is valid for three years, requires a one day course, and can be upgraded to Level C, which covers children and infants. For higher-risk workplaces the two-day Standard First Aid course is $159 and the certificate can be renewed with a less expensive refresher course as long as it’s taken within three years.

Employee awareness

Employees must be given information and instructions on first aid in the workplace, including:

  • the location of first aid kits
  • the names and work location of trained first aid officers
  • procedures to be followed when first aid or further assistance is required
  • if there is a change in the location of first aid facilities (eg first aid room)
  • if there are any changes in the names, locations or contact details of first aid officers

* Prices are generally consistent nationwide, but could vary slightly from those listed.

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