Legal Guidance

It is important as an employer to have an understanding of legislation in respect of many areas of health & safety in work place environments. Provision of first aid and first aid equipment is one of those areas.

Legal duties are placed on employers by ‘The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981’.

Should an employee be taken ill or be injured in an accident, failure to provide first aid could result in the casualty deteriorating further or possibly their death. For this reason an employer must ensure that an employee who is injured due to an accident or an employee that becomes unwell due to a sudden onset of illness must get immediate first aid attention.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) will prosecute in cases where there is significant risk, a disregard for established standards or persistent poor compliance with the law.

For more substantial guidance please go to:

The regulations require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

Lady Justice Statue ontop of the Old Bailey in London

What is deemed to be ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on many factors including the size and nature of the workforce and any specific hazards and risks associated with the activity of the business. There will need to be enough first aid trained staff and the right first aid equipment to provide first aid attention to some one who becomes unwell or injured.

Employers should carry out an assessment of first aid needs to determine what to provide.

For more details go to:

The regulations do not place a legal duty on employers to make first aid provision for non-employees – that would be members of the public, visitors, customers, service users for example. However the HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in an assessment of first aid needs and that provision is made for them.

For any unanswered questions and for further guidance the HSE’s Frequently asked questions on first aid may be helpful. Go to:


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