This causes lots of confusion

this causes lots of confusion

If you mention first aid needs assessment to some business owners over the phone you will find this really causes lots of confusion with them and they are unsure what exactly what one is, and why they need to do one to stay compliant and within the law.

So what is a first aid needs assessment?

A first aid needs assessment will give the business owner all the information they need to provide adequate first aid provision for the business and also for the people that work within the business and will help the business stay HSE compliant and within the law in reference to a first aid needs assessment.

An assessment should take around 30 – 40 minutes to complete and if done in a logical sequence will give the business owner lots of information so they can build a plan of action and they won’t be saying ‘this causes lots of confusion’ anymore, hopefully.

So where do we start with this assessment?

A great starting point is, what exactly does the business do.

If your business is an administration type business then you are probably a low risk of injury workplace, if you have a business that does engineering, construction, or a factory, then this is a higher risk of injury workplace so by deciding exactly what the business does is a really good starting point.

So once you have decided if its a low or high risk of injury workplace then you need to look at potential hazards to your workforce such as trip hazards, slip hazards, chemicals if they are used on the site, moving machinery especially if its operated by remote, these are the most common hazards but each workspace is different so the need to do a thorough assessment is required.

This plays a significant part in the first aid needs assessment and this causes lots of confusion with business owners

The business owner needs to factor in if there have been any accidents in the workplace in the past, and what has been done to prevent or minimise this happening again in the future.

Does the business have any ‘lone workers’ and what provision have you in place for them to ensure they have a safe as possible working environment and be able to access first aid if they require it. This is quite often overlooked when doing a first aid needs assessment.

Does the business do ‘shift work’ if so they will need first aid provision all the time the business is operating, does the business have visitors on site although you have not got to provide first aid provision, the majority of businesses do.

Your first aid staff will take annual leave, they will go sick at times, they will be absent from work, so all this needs factoring in, so you can see this causes lots of confusion and so often overlooked by the business owner during the first aid needs assessment.

Does the business share the site with other companies, so they share responsibility or are you responsible for your own first aid needs and requirements in your part of the site, all this needs to be addressed and factored into the assessment.

You have got all the information, NOW what?

You have now completed your first aid assessment and you have a good understanding of what your business does, what hazards you could potentially have and you are aware of any accidents that have occurred in the past. So with this information, you can now decide at what level of training your first aid team will need and how many first aiders you will require whilst your site is open for business.

When deciding on how many first aiders you require for your business to be first aid compliant you should have a few more first aiders than what you actually need to cover holidays, sickness, absenteeism, and people leaving the company and this causes lots of confusion because businesses always go with the bare minimum and then come unstuck and may mean that they are not compliant.

On completion of the first aid needs assessment and your findings you may decide that the workplace only employs 2-3 people so all is needed is an ‘appointed person’ who will check the first aid box on a regular basis and also call the emergency services if they are required.

If having first aid staff is a requirement then your first aid needs assessment will you decide on what level of first aid training your staff will require to meet the needs of your business requirements.

Workplace first aid comes in 2 levels of training and they are;

Emergency First Aid at Work is ideal for low risk workplaces such as small offices, small shops, or a workshop having only a handful of staff members.

First Aid at Work is ideal for higher risk workplaces such as factories, engineering works, construction sites or if you employ a high number of staff members in a low risk workplace.


First aid needs assessment is a requirement for all businesses that employ members of staff and by law, you have to do an assessment to ensure you have adequate provision of first aid equipment and if required first aid trained staff too. Once an assessment has been completed and implemented it needs to be revisited throughout the year to ensure its still fit for purpose and amended if need be.

No business owner wants an accident on their site so by having adequate first aid resources and first aid staff members trained to the required level a business owner will know if a first aid incident did occur then they have the first aiders and resources to deal with the first aid emergency till the emergency services if required arrive on scene.