Last updated: 16.05.13

First aid training 'crucial' in UK firms

Employees who are trained in first aid play an essential role in any organisation.

This is according to Richard Evens, commercial training director of the health and wellbeing theatre at St John's Ambulance (SJA), who wrote in article for the Safety and Health Practitioner's online magazine that given the average time it takes for an ambulance to attend to an emergency is eight to 14 minutes, the support offered by a first-aider is vital. 

He said employers must seriously consider providing some of their staff with comprehensive first aid training, given that health and safety in the workplace is an ongoing problem in firms throughout the country.

Indeed, official figures were quoted as indicating around 6,000 accidents take place and 1.2 million people suffer from work-related illnesses every year, costing business a massive £13.4 billion.

Mr Evens stated: "The key point is maintaining the progress made in the last decade in making the workplace a safer place."

Training employees in first aid means they will be equipped with the skills to deal with a range of emergency situations, including choking, burns, heart attacks, strokes and cuts.

SJA has claimed the government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have succeeded in promoting the importance of first aid in companies, but the budget for these policies is currently under threat due to widespread cuts.

Mr Evens explained the existing First Aid at Work Regulations are out of date, given that they have been in place since 1981, adding they do not add value in the monitoring of training providers by the HSE. He noted many workplace first aid training courses lack the degree of flexibility many employers need.

However, by turning to online methods of staff learning, organisations are likely to find they have more time and money to spare.

With Virtual College's First Aid - The Primary Survey e-learning course, employees are able to access training resources out of hours and as well as being cheap, this is a much more versatile way to gain valuable skills.