On 1st October 2013 the HSE stopped approving training and qualifications for the purposes of first aid at work. Since then, training organisations who were formerly approved by HSE to deliver the First Aid at Work course, can no longer claim to be Approved.
While this change gives you more choice in the first aid training you provide for your employees and volunteers, and who you choose to provide it, it also means that you are now responsible for checking the course content, the instructors level of education in first aid, the instructors teacher training, etc.
When booking training, it is now down to you to undertake varying levels of due diligence (reasonable enquiry or investigation) into how you select a first aid training provider.
Criteria for first aid training
The HSE still set the standards, but it is now down to you to check that the training organisation meet or exceed these criteria.
These criteria include:
- the qualifications expected of trainers and
- monitoring and quality assurance systems
- teaching and standards of first-aid practice
- syllabus content
Training organisations should also meet the criteria set by the principles of assessment for first aid qualifications, i.e.
- competence and qualifications of first aiders
- the quality assurance systems required
- how training is delivered
- how training is assessed
At Beyond First Aid we teach the first-aid management of injuries and illness, in relation to the topics covered in FAW and EFAW training courses, in accordance with current guidance from advisory bodies such as The Resuscitation Council, The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC).
If you have identified that first aiders are needed, you must ensure that those first aiders undertake appropriate training. This can be First Aid at Work (18-hour course) or Emergency First Aid at Work (6 hours) but does not have to be. If you identify other risks not covered by these courses or think that the 1-day course would be enough if it also covered some extra topics from the longer course, then maybe 8 hours training, or a 2-day bespoke course would suit your needs better.
Where you require training other than FAW or EFAW qualifications to demonstrate first-aid competence, you should ensure that common elements of the syllabus are taught in accordance with the guidelines above, and that there is a sound basis for the way in which any other elements are taught.
The HSE continues to set the syllabus for both FAW and EFAW.
All Beyond First Aid certificates, including First Aid at Work, are valid for three years. The exception to this is Basic Life Support, which is 1 year. First-aiders will need to undertake a requalification course as appropriate, before their certificates expire. Once certificates have expired the first aider is no longer considered to be competent to act as a first aider. In the workplace you could find that you may not be insured should something go wrong.
Beyond First Aid and the HSE strongly recommend that first aiders undertake annual refresher training during their three-year certification period. Although not mandatory, this will help qualified first aiders maintain their basic skills and keep up to date with any changes to first-aid procedures.
Blended and e-learning
While blended learning is now an accepted method for delivery of first aid training, Beyond First Aid have not yet decided to follow the e-learning route. We believe that face to face is still the best way to learn first aid. We do however recognise that some things can be read at the learner’s leisure, rather than being taught in the classroom. It is for this reason that you have just read this blog post.