Changes to First Aid at Work

This is the third edition of the HSE publication setting out what you need to do to address first-aid provision in the workplace. It is intended for employers.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 set out the essential aspects of first aid that employers have to address. This publication aims to help them to understand and comply with the Regulations and offers practical advice on what they need to do.

Guidance is included on:

  • Managing the provision of first aid (first-aid kit, equipment, rooms etc.).
  • Requirements and training for first-aiders.
  • Requirements for appointed persons.
  • Making employees aware of first-aid arrangements.
  • First aid and the self-employed.
  • Cases where first-aid regulations do not apply.


It was reissued with minor amendments in 2018 to:

  • Further clarify the significance of the 2013 amendment to regulation 3(2), which ended HSE’s approval of first-aid training providers.
  • Update guidance on the use of automated external defibrillators, and blended learning in first-aid training.
  • Incorporate some additional amendments to take account of other previous legislative changes.

This third edition has been further updated with minor amendments in 2024 to:

  • Emphasise employers’ responsibilities to take account of employees’ mental health in their first-aid needs assessment.
  • Change the term ‘catastrophic bleeding’ to ‘life-threatening bleeding’ with more guidance on what employers should do if they identify this as a risk in their workplace.
  • Simplify guidance on how to decide what first aid to provide.


Selecting a First Aid training provier

Employers must identify and select a competent training provider to deliver first-aid training as highlighted by a first-aid needs assessment (a requirement of the under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981).

Where the first-aid needs assessment indicates that trained first-aiders are required, the level of training undertaken should be as identified in the assessment. Typically, this will be either first aid at work (FAW) training or emergency first aid at work (EFAW) training. However, it may also be some other level of first-aid training, outside the usual framework, if indicated by the needs assessment.

Employers have a number of options available to them when selecting a first-aid training provider. To comply with legal duties under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, the selection must be appropriate and adequate, based on the needs assessment and appropriate due diligence being undertaken.


Download the checklist for evaluating the competence of first aid trianing HERE!


February 2024