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What is a first aider?

A first aider is someone who has undergone an HSE-approved training course and holds a current first aid certificate. The HSE provides lists of training organisations. The HSE is considering removing the requirement for the training to be HSE-approved.

There is a mandatory three-day course and one-day option for small businesses. All qualified first aiders must attend a two day requalification course every three years. The guidance also suggests that refresher training taken annually would be beneficial to first aiders and their employers. The guidance can be downloaded for free from the HSE website, and you can find a summary of and information about available courses on the website of St John Ambulance.

First aider training should be undertaken during work time. Employers are not required to make a separate annual payment to trained first aiders, and a survey by the Labour Research Department in December 2002 found that in 39% of workplaces there was no payment to first aiders at all. Where payments were made, the average was £160 a year.