In any workplace, ensuring the safety and well-being of employees is paramount. One crucial aspect of workplace safety is having adequate provisions for first aid. Understanding the requirements set forth by regulatory bodies like the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is essential for employers to create a safe working environment.

The HSA recognizes the importance of having trained personnel who can respond effectively to medical emergencies. This includes individuals certified as Occupational First Aiders or holding a PHECC Emergency First Aid Responder certificate. These certifications meet the criteria for having competent first aid personnel on-site.

Determining the need for first aid responders at a workplace involves conducting a thorough risk assessment as part of the Safety Statement. Factors considered include the number of employees, the nature of work, level of hazards, accident rates, workplace size and location, shift patterns, and proximity to medical services.

Considerations to help you decide between a 1-day and a 3-day first aid course:

  1. Occupational Requirements: Some professions or workplaces may have specific regulations or requirements regarding the level of first aid training employees should have. Check with your employer or industry guidelines to ensure you meet any mandatory standards.
  2. Personal Goals: Evaluate your personal goals for taking a first aid course. If you want a basic understanding of first aid for everyday situations, a 1-day course might be sufficient. If you have a keen interest in emergency response or plan to take on a more responsible role, a 3-day course could be more appropriate.
  3. Previous Knowledge and Experience: If you already have some knowledge of first aid or have taken a course in the past, you might find a 1-day refresher course to be adequate. However, if you are relatively new to first aid training, a 3-day course can offer a more thorough foundation.
  4. Certification Requirements: Consider whether you need certification for specific purposes, such as workplace requirements or professional development. Some certifications may require a certain number of training hours, which a 3-day course might fulfill more readily.
  5. Practical Skills Practice: The duration of the course often correlates with the amount of time available for practical hands-on exercises. If you value more opportunities to practice and refine your skills through simulations and scenarios, a 3-day course may provide a more immersive experience.
  6. Specialized Training: If you need specialized training, such as wilderness first aid or pediatric first aid, these courses may have different durations. Be sure to choose a course that aligns with your specific needs.

It’s important to note that these recommendations serve as a baseline and should be adjusted according to the unique circumstances of each workplace. Additionally, if a workplace is more than one hour away from medical assistance, the recommended number of first aiders should be doubled to ensure adequate coverage.

Even if the risk assessment does not mandate a specific number of first aid responders, it’s still considered good practice to provide emergency first aid training to key staff members. This proactive approach enhances overall safety and preparedness in the event of medical emergencies.

The HSA provides guidelines to help employers determine the appropriate number of first aid responders based on the specifics of their workplace. For instance, in environments like factories, construction sites, surface mines, and quarries, the recommended number of first aiders increases with the size of the workforce. Similar guidelines apply to other workplaces, with adjustments based on the number of employees and the level of risk. Occupational First Aiders (3 day First Aid Responders) are listed on page 10 of the Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007. Please see the link HERE.

In conclusion, the number of 3-day first-aiders you should have depends on various factors, including the size and nature of your workplace, the level of risk involved, and any legal or regulatory requirements in your location. It’s generally recommended to have a sufficient number of trained first-aiders to ensure prompt and effective response in case of injuries or medical emergencies. 

If you do not require a first aider to be trained based on the requirements of the HSA Table below, it would be considered very good practice to conduct Emergency First Aid Training for key members of staff.

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