• Tim

How many First Aiders do I Need?

Updated: Apr 26

Having the correct first aid provision in your workplace is not only a legal requirement, it's incredibly important for the safety of you and your employees. However, here at Custom Training we know that it can be difficult to determine exactly how many first aiders you need, and what type of training they require.

This blog post should help you answer those questions and covers both physical and mental health first aid requirements.

The Law

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, require employers to...

Provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

So what does this mean? Well, it means that as an employer, you are best placed to work out what is 'adequate and appropriate'.

It's worth noting at this point that the Health and Safety Executive strongly recommend that employers also provide cover for non-employees, such as the public or children in schools.

Needs Assessment

So how do you know what is required? You complete a First Aid Needs Assessment.

This process is much like any other risk assessment. You identify the hazards and calculate the risks before deciding what control measures are required. Needs assessments should be regularly reviewed (usually annually) or when there are any significant changes to the business.

Hazards and Risks

The hazards and risks for your workplace will depend on:

  • The nature of the work you do

  • Specific workplace hazards

  • The nature and size of your workforce

  • The work patterns of your staff

  • Holiday and other absences of those who will be first-aiders

  • Your organisation’s history of accidents

You may also wish to consider:

  • The needs of travelling, remote and lone workers

  • The geographical distribution of your workforce

  • The remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services

  • Whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites

  • First-aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public)

Control Measures

Once you've considered the risks, you can then decide what first aid control measures should be put in place. These normally consist of deciding:

  • How many trained first aiders are required

  • What level of training is required

  • What first aid equipment is required

  • Whether a first aid room is required

Online Calculator

Sound daunting? We think so. That’s why we’re delighted to introduce our First Aid Requirements Calculator!

Designed to be quick and easy to use, this online assessment tool uses HSE recommendations to accurately calculate the cover you need in your workplace.

Simply input a few details about your workplace and the calculator will create a clear, printable report of your organisation’s requirements. Ideal for demonstrating that you have completed your first aid needs assessment in

line with the current legislation.

Simply click on the image to get started. If you need any support, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Mental Health First Aid Requirements

Now that you've considered the physical health first aid needs of your employees, you should consider their mental health first aid needs.

We all have mental health, and just like our physical health, it can go wrong.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. 'Mixed anxiety and depression' has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.

Certain sectors face a bigger problem than others. For instance, male site workers in construction are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average UK male.

HSE Guidance

As mental health first aid has only just arrived at the 'employee wellbeing' party, the HSE don't provide guidance on numbers of trained people. However, they do say that:

You should consider ways to manage mental ill health in your workplace which are appropriate for your business, such as providing information or training for managers and employees... [including] appointing mental health trained first aiders...

Mental health first aid training teaches delegates how to recognise the warning signs of mental ill health and helps them to develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone, while keeping themselves safe.

Mental Health First Aid Training

We provide 3 levels of mental health first aid course, with each including the lower level qualification(s):

  1. Awareness - half day

  2. First Aider - 1 day

  3. Supervisor - 2 days

How many staff you require trained at each level will depend on your circumstances. Our recommendation is that the number of mental health first aiders should match that of your physical health first aiders. You might also want to train additional staff to 'awareness' and 'supervisor' levels, to help develop a positive mental health culture in your business.

In practice, this can all be done in a single 2 day course. Up to 16 people may start it and gain the 'awareness' qualification on the first morning. Those who stay on for the afternoon sessions will become 'first aiders' and those that also complete day 2 will gain their 'supervisor' qualification. How many stay for each session is up to you.

Like physical first aid training, we recommend annual refresher training to maintain competence, keep up to date and to continue to reinforce your commitment to the mental health of your staff.

If you'd like to know more about first aid or mental health first aid, or would like free, no obligation support in conducting a first aid needs assessment, please get in touch.