· News

Employers warned to prepare for biggest overhaul of first aid at work in 25 years

From 1 October new changes to first aid at work training proposed by the Health and Safety Executive will save time for businesses and allow more flexibility.

The new guidelines will see the mandatory four-day first aid at work  training courses reduced to three days and there will also be an option for a one-day course for smaller businesses. All employees qualified in first aid at work will still have to attend a two-day requalification course every three years.

But St John Ambulance is warning employers who are not adequately prepared for these changes could face fines as well as risk the welfare of staff.

Richard Evens, commercial marketing director at St John Ambulance, said: "It's a sad fact that 180 people die every year from injuries caused at work. This number has gone down from 233 fatalities the previous year which shows how taking health and safety seriously can make the difference between life and death.

"We strongly recommend that businesses embrace the changes to continue to make our workplaces as safe as possible and ensure that if an accident does happen, they are well prepared.'

"The worst possible scenario is that an employee is injured and a workplace has not got enough first aiders trained to deal with that situation. We don't know how the Health and Safety Executive will respond to breaches in regulations but businesses should be wary of fines or even charges under the Corporate Manslaughter Act."