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This page covers first aid requirements in non-healthcare settings during the pandemic, as well as first aid cover and qualifications at this time.
This guidance will help employers ensure first aiders are confident that they can help someone injured or ill at work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Employers and their first aiders should take account of the specific guidance on giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from the Resuscitation Council UK.
Emergency service professionals, such as NHS ambulance workers, will receive specific advice from their employer.
HSE has guidance on First aid cover and qualifications.
As an employer, when reviewing your risk assessment to include working during the pandemic, consider refreshing your first aid at work needs assessment.
Ask your first aiders if there are any factors that should be taken into account as part of your risk assessment, for example vulnerable workers with first aid responsibilities.
You should discuss the risk assessment with your first aiders so they are confident about providing the right assistance. This includes knowing what equipment they can use to minimise risk of infection transmission, as explained below.
Try to assist at a safe distance from the casualty as much as you can and minimise the time you share a breathing zone.
If they are capable, tell them to do things for you, but treating the casualty properly should be your first concern. Remember the 3P model – preserve life, prevent worsening, promote recovery.
Preserve life: CPR
Only deliver CPR by chest compressions and use a defibrillator (if available) – don’t do rescue breaths (for CPR in paediatric settings see specific guidance from the Resuscitation Council UK)
Prevent worsening, promote recovery: all other injuries or illnesses
After delivering any first aid
If first aid cover for your business is reduced because of coronavirus or you can’t get the first aid training you need, there are some things you can do so that you still comply with the law.
You should review your first aid needs assessment and decide if you can still provide the cover needed for the workers that are present and the activities that they are doing.
If fewer people are coming into your workplace it may still be safe to operate with reduced first aid cover. You could also stop higher-risk activities.
You could share the first aiders of another business, but be sure that they have the knowledge, experience and availability to cover the first aid needs of your business.
Shared first aiders must:
Whoever provides the temporary cover must make sure they do not adversely affect their own first aid cover.
Offshore Medic and Offshore First Aid Certificates
From 31 October 2020 offshore medic (OM), or offshore first aid (OFA) certificates, must be current and in date. The temporary COVID-19 extension arrangements end.
First Aid at Work (FAW) and Emergency First aid at Work (EFAW) certificates requalification
First aid providers have resumed first aid training and assessment. In some cases, there remains a back log or limited availability.
FAW or EFAW certificates that expired after 16 March 2020 can remain valid until 31 October 2020 or 6 months from date of expiry, whichever is later. All requalification training for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.
To qualify for the extension, employers must be able to demonstrate that:
This guidance now applies to employers in England, Scotland and Wales.
If first aiders are unable to access annual refresher training face to face during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, HSE supports the use of online refresher training to keep their skills up to date.
HSE still strongly recommends that the practical elements of actual FAW, EFAW and requalification courses are delivered face to face, so that competency of the student can be properly assessed.
If because of coronavirus you cannot complete training for your first aid qualification within the usual timeframe, training can restart at a later date as long as: