Tuesday 24th September 2013.
From October 1st 2013 First aid Regulations are to be amended to reflect the fact that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will no longer be responsible for regulating first aid training within the workplace. However the legal requirement for employers to provide adequate first aid training for employees, according to first aid needs, remains unchanged.
What does this mean for employers?
This means that the responsibility of ensuring the quality of first aid training moves to you, the employer.
What are the options?
As an employer, you have the option of obtaining First Aid training from a variety of training providers who offer training through
- Regulated qualifications
- Voluntary accreditation schemes
- The Voluntary Aid societies
- Unregulated training
However, with exception of those offering regulated qualifications, the HSE is not able to verify the quality of courses offered (source: First Aid at Work (Advance Copy) Health & Safety Executive, 2013. Depending on the source of your first aid courses, some due diligence may be required as described below.
Regulated qualifications are nationally recognised and are obtained from training centres for Awarding Organisations (AOs), recognised by qualification regulators (Ofqual, SQA and the Welsh Government). They have dedicated quality assurance processes and monitor and approve training centres to ensure training meets a high standard.
If your first aiders undertake Regulated First Aid Qualifications, the guidance is clear that you DO NOT need to undertake any lengthy due diligence process, as this has been carried out as part of the creation and ongoing accreditation of the course. Regulated Qualifications have the “Ofqual” or “SQA” logo on certificates, so an HSE inspector will accept this for the purposes of the first aid regulations.
HTS Training Ltd has been delivering the new regulated qualifications with very positive feedback from students since the creation of these courses in early 2013. We are a registered centre with Qualsafe Awards, a leading Ofqual-recognised Awarding Organisation in first aid.
Voluntary Accreditation schemes
Some providers will operate through voluntary industry schemes that will set and maintain standards in line with HSE requirements. It is not mandatory for training providers to part of these schemes and some further due diligence will still be required.
Voluntary Aid Societies
These include St John Ambulance, the British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid. The HSE accept these organisations as delivering their training to a sufficient standard, so that no further due diligence evidence will be required.
If you choose a provider who is offering unregulated qualifications then you will need to carry out due diligence to ensure that the training is suitable, meets the content set by the HSE and Skills for Health and that training providers can demonstrate robust quality assurance.
The guidance published by the HSE covers six pages of due diligence (reasonable investigation) that an employer should undertake if they choose unregulated first aid training. This includes checks on the competency of trainers, internal quality assurers and more.
The HSE’s GEIS3 “Selecting a first aid training provider” document gives more details on the exact nature of the due diligence that needs to be carried out, including checking:
- the FAW certificates of trainers/assessors
- the quality assurance methods used
- the course syllabus
- that the syllabus complies with the currently accepted guidelines published by the Resuscitation Council UK and the voluntary societies
- is underpinned by accepted medical practice
For more information, advance copies of “The Health and Safety (First-Aid )Regulations 1981, Regulations and Guidance (L&$) and Selecting a first-aid training provider (GEIS3)’ are now available on the HSE website.
This change has come about in response to ‘Reclaiming Health and Safety for All: An independent review of health and safety legislation’, by Professor Ragnar E Lõfstedt, which was published in November 2011.
Update – 1st October 2013: Changes to first aid regulation came into force from 1st October.