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First Aid In The Workplace

“Do I need a qualified first aider in my workplace?
A risk assessment in the context of the Safety Statement should consider the numbers employed, the nature of the work, the degree of hazard, the level of accidents arising, the size and location of the workplace, the distribution of the employees, shift working, availability of an occupational health service with the workplace and the distance and duration from external medical services etc.
If the designated occupational first aider is absent from the place of work, what must the employer do?
If the occupational first aider is absent in temporary or exceptional circumstances, the employer may designate a person, to take charge of an injured or ill person until medical assistance is obtained. Such person’s functions, if they have not received training in basic life saving skills, would, primarily be to seek appropriate assistance as soon as possible and to ensure that nothing further is allowed to occur which would exacerbate the problems of the injured person.
Foreseeable absences such as planned annual leave are not considered “temporary or exceptional circumstances” In these situations the employer must ensure that there is an adequate number of trained occupational first aiders to cover the foreseeable absences or leave, if the need for an occupational first aider in the workplace has been identified.
How are the emergency services contacted?
The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the local emergency services must be clearly displayed in the workplace. Emergency plans and procedures must be in place and people designated and trained to implement them. It must be clear who makes contact with the emergency services.
Where do I find an occupational first aid training provider?
Employer should only use occupational first aid providers registered with the occupational first aid assessment agent (OFAAA) to deliver training. Details of registered organisations and individual instructors can be found at www.ofaaa.com or by phoning 1890 223 223. EMS & Associates is a registered organisation with OFAAA and can deliver QQI Level 5 – Occupational First Aid and Occupational First Aid Refresher training courses.
How long is an occupational first aid training course?
A training course is run over a minimum of 3 days or 24 hours with a 2 hour assessment/exam. Courses can be delivered over a number of weeks.
What is the retraining requirement?
Occupational first aiders must do a 1 day refresher and assessment to be re-certified.
When do occupational first aiders need additional training?
Occupational first aiders may need additional specialised training if a work place has employees exposed to any special hazards such as:

  • risk of poisoning by toxic substances, e.g. certain cyanides and related compounds
  • risk of burns from corrosive or oxidising substances, e.g. hydrofluoric acid
  • risk of accidental exposure to hazardous substances, e.g. toxic, irritant or asphyxiant gases, requiring oxygen for resuscitation
  • Other specific risks identified in the Safety Statement
  • Additional provisions in other regulations such as administration of oxygen

What type of a certificate does a first aider receive?
An occupational first aider will receive a QQI Level 5 certificate in Occupational First Aid.
The first aider will also receive a certificate from the registered training provider stating the first aider successfully completed the training and the date of issue will be on this certificate.
Thereafter, the first aider will receive a certificate from the registered training provider for 2 yearly refresher training as QQI does not issue refresher certificates.
How long is certification valid for?
Occupational first aid certification is valid for 2 years after which refresher training is required.
What happens if a first aider’s training lapses?
Where training for an occupational first aider lapses, a 1 day refresher training is required if the lapse is less than 3 months, otherwise the full 3 day training is required. The important date to note is the date on the certificate from the training provider and not the date on the QQI certificate.
QQI certificates are dated the date of issue which is some time after the training date while refresher certificates issued by training providers will normally have the date of the training.
What first aid records and documentation need to be kept?
The names of occupational first aider must be recorded in the Safety Statement along with the location of the first aid rooms, equipment and facilities.
Written records of the dates of all first aid training, including refresher training should be kept at the workplace and be made available on request to the Health and Safety Inspector.
Records of all cases treated by the first aider should be kept in a suitable secure place, respecting their confidential nature and be made available on request to the Health and Safety Inspector.
What is an AED?
A defibrillator is a device that delivers an electric shock to the heart muscle through the chest wall in order to restore a normal heart rate.
An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a portable defibrillator designed to be automated such that it can be used by persons without substantial medical training who are responding to a cardiac emergency.
Are occupational first aiders trained in the use of AED?
Yes, AED is part of the Cardiac First Response (CFR) Unit of the QQI Level 5 OFA Standard and first aiders are trained in its use.
Do I have to have a first aid room at my workplace?
Premises must have one or more first aid rooms if the Safety Statement risk assessment shows that it is necessary and based on the following criteria:

  • Premises size
  • Type of activity being carried out
  • Frequency of accidents arising
  • Existence of special hazards
  • Distance from nearest appropriate medical facility.

What should be considered when planning and designing first aid rooms?
A number of factors need to be considered when planning, designing and equipping first aid rooms:

  • Location to take account of proximity to work areas and access for transport to hospital
  • Sufficient size to include equipment
  • Entrance wide enough to accommodate ambulance trolley, stretcher
  • Impervious floor covering, with surfaces easy to clean
  • Sink facilities with hot and cold running water
  • Provision of telephone

What is the maximum number of learners/trainees to an instructor?
10 is the maximum number. This is to ensure learners have sufficient time to develop first aid skills. The instructor is required to have a mannequin and training AED for every 4 learners.
Who does the first aid assessment?
For a 3 day course a separate instructor (examiner) must do the assessment.
For the 1 day refresher course, the same instructor or a different instructor can do the assessment.”
Courtesy of The Health & Safety Authority.
If you find you still have some unanswered questions, please contact our office on 041-9822933 and we would be more than happy to offer our advice. EMS & Associates are regularly running Occupational First Aid training courses in Dublin and Drogheda. If you would like to book a place please call 041-9822933 or email susan@emsandassocitaes.com.

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