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Employers granted more choice in first aid training

From October, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will no longer regulate first aid training providers. Employers will be able to choose non-HSE approved providers in a bid to simplify business compliance.

St John Ambulance has urged employers to check the credentials of providers and to take into account issues such as employee absence and existing health conditions among staff.

HSE will continue to regulate the role of the first aider within the workplace.

The change follows recommendations in the Lofstedt report, which set out regulatory reform for health and safety in the public and private sectors. HSE has published guidance to help businesses prepare for the changes and choose the best first aid training providers.

Andy McGrory, HSE's policy lead for First Aid, said: “From October, HSE will no longer approve first-aid training and qualifications. The guidance documents clarify what the law requires and provide practical help to businesses in assessing and understanding their first aid needs. Where a first aider is required, the guidance documents make it clear that the employer is free to select a training provider who is best suited to those needs.

“We have taken onboard comments and suggestions that we have received through our public consultations on the changes and from extended stakeholder discussions and business input to ensure the guidance provides everything an employer will need to manage their first aid requirements.”

John Cavanagh, regional commercial training director at St John Ambulance said: “As first aid training providers can no longer demonstrate quality through holding a HSE license, it’s important that employers review the new guidance carefully and ensure that the training they choose conforms to this guidance. Hiring an organisation that is unable to meet the educational and clinical standards to teach first aid correctly can potentially put lives at risk.

“Workplace deaths last year occurred at a rate of three per week, with 115,000 reportable workplace injuries a year. High quality first aid training should be a priority for all organisations as it is essential that first aiders have the competence and confidence to be the difference between life and death.”

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