First Aid at Work: The Most Common Questions Answered

The use of a first aid at work qualification is an absolute essential for any company, whether you work in an office, a shop or a building site. There is a legal requirement for employers to make sure that staff remain safe at work and that if an illness or accident occurs at work then there is a first-aider and first aid equipment on hand. However, first aid at work can sometimes be overlooked by employers and employees can be left confused over what it means for them.

So, here are a few of your most common questions answered on what first aid at work means for you.

First aid training is essential

What is First Aid at Work?

First aid at work is a qualification that you get that enables you to help someone who has been injured or taken ill while in the workplace. Depending on where you work, incidents where first aid is required can differ in occurrence and severity. For example, suffering an injury at work when you work in an office can be a lot less serious than an injury when you work on a building site or are operating machinery.

There are different types of first aid qualifications, which can differ depending on the environment. You can get a first aid at work course that particularly focuses on the likely injuries to occur in your workplace. However, don’t forget that it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that there is always a first-aider at hand to deal with any issues.

What Should Be in A First Aid Kit?

As well as your employer being responsible for providing a person to administer first aid, if necessary, they should also provide a first aid kit that offers the supplies necessary to help you or other injured coworkers.

A first aid kit should contain band-aids, sterile eye pads, bandages (sterile and individually wrapped), disposable gloves, and cleansing wipes. You can often get first aid kits supplied from companies or charities that help to ensure people are safe at work.

It’s essential that all products are checked for expiry dates regularly, and replaced when used. A staff member who is first aid trained may be nominated to check the first aid kit, but it is the employer’s job to ensure that the necessary products are supplied.

How Can I Learn First Aid?

In order to learn first aid and have all the required skills needed to be a first-aider, enroll in a “First Aid at Work” course. Sometimes companies hire first aid trainers to come in-house to train employees in a class, which requires passing a comprehensive test to gain certification. These training sessions often involve physical training on how to help someone who has been injured or become ill at work. E-learning platforms are also a popular way for employers to ensure that you and your colleagues are getting first aid training.

The good news is, you can find a first aid at work course as an individual. You can take the course yourself to bump up your your CV, which will make you more appealing to future employers.

first aid training

Do I Need to Re-qualify?

First-aiders are required to re-qualify every three years in order to maintain their qualification as someone who can deliver care to the injured or sick. If you have not re-qualified, then you cannot be counted towards the number of first aiders in your workplace and you are not considered competent as a first aider.

It is advisable to have a yearly refresher in your first aid qualification to keep your skills up to date. Refreshers can include two or three-day course that take place at work, or through an independent licensed trainer. Often, first aid standards will change, so it is important that you know the most recent changes to give care to individuals who need it.

Can First-Aiders Distribute Medicine?

Your first aid training does not include giving tablets or other medications to individuals who are taken ill or injured. It is important that you do not break this rule, as if you were to give someone medication which made them worse, you would be held responsible.

It is essential that you assess the needs of someone in your care and then from there, you can decide whether they need further medical attention from a professional qualified to give medication.


Being a first aider can initially seem like a scary and daunting thing to do, but the qualification is something that is worth having. Not only does it enable you to help others when they are in need, but it will also look good on your CV and make you a more appealing colleague to have in a workplace.