No matter how safe your workplace is, accidents can still occur – it’s in the meaning of the word accident!
Although the UK has an excellent work safety record, people still do get hurt in the workplace, with 441,000 people sustaining an injury at work from 2020-21 according to health and safety records.
One of the main ways of mitigating the severity of injury at the workplace is through proper first aid training. More specifically, choosing a legitimate first aid training provider willing to provide the level of insight and tutorage your business requires.
In this article, we look at why this training is so important, particularly from an employer’s perspective.
It’s a legal requirement
First of all, UK law stipulates that in order to operate legally, companies must make first aid provisions. The exact requirements depend on the situation of each specific workplace – the higher the risk of injury, the more comprehensive the first aid facilities should be. The guidelines can be found in the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (1981) however they are guidelines only. The entire responsibility is on the employer, meaning that it is a good idea to go above the bare minimum.
Increases employee retention
No one enjoys working in an unsafe work environment. Having appropriate first aid measures in place will help employees know that they’re operating in a safe environment, and that management cares about their wellbeing. Sending employees on courses which are run by a reputable first aid training provider keeps employees involved in the process, further helping to foster a community of trust and care.
In 2018/19, injury and ill health in the workplace cost £16.2 billion. Ill health accounted for 66% of that figure, with injury accounting for the remaining 34%. First aid can help reduce that figure, in addition to reducing the severity of the health impacts on employees. Both individuals and employers stand to gain from the savings – individuals fronted £9.6 billion of the £16.2 billion, with the remaining cost split almost equally between employers and the government.
The most significant benefit to first aid training in the workplace is the avoidance of deaths. Data suggests that just under 60% of workplace deaths could be avoided through the provision of proper first aid. Potentially fatal things such as choking, heart attacks, strokes, and allergic reactions are all potentially easily remedied if the correct treatment is given immediately!
HSE must send representatives to investigate cases where employees are either seriously injured or killed in the workplace. Should they find that any regulations have been ignored or broken, employers can be liable to significant fines, or even imprisonment. Courts now investigate near misses, and employers can be found guilty even in the case that an injury did not actually take place! Ensuring that first aid training is prioritised in your workforce is both part of a solid legal defence during such investigations, and a practical way of mitigating the severity of injury should it occur.