First aid knowledge is invaluable at home and in most workplaces, but when it comes to construction sites, it’s quite simply essential.

In the event of an accident, or someone falling unwell, first aid training enables individuals to help those affected until professional help arrives. As accidents and emergency situations are not completely avoidable, the more people you put through first aid training, the safer your construction site becomes. Even the most basic of first aid awareness can help in the most difficult of situations and in some cases even lifesaving.

Construction Industry – A high hazard

The Health & Safety Executive defines the construction industry as a ‘high hazard’ by its very nature. Not only do construction sites have all the hazards a normal workplace would have, but they are heightened due to the conditions, including, but not limited to, working with machinery, working outside and often working at height.

Responsibilities by Law

Health and Safety Regulations make it an employers’ responsibility by law to ensure that “adequate and appropriate” first aid resources are available should employees require immediate help following illness or injury. There are no rigid rules regarding what ‘adequate and appropriate’ refer to, instead it will depend on the conditions and environment at your construction site. The first thing employers need to do is a carry out an assessment of what the first aid requirements are. This includes taking questions like the following into consideration:

• Does your workplace expose your employees to hazards such as plant machinery or chemicals? Or do they have to work in confined spaces?
• How many people are employed on site? Are they all experienced and qualified?
• How spread out is the work site? For example, are there several floors or multiple buildings?
• Do any members of the public or persons from other companies visit your construction site?

For example, an employer with 25 employees in a low hazard area such as a shop may only need one appointed person. However, an employer with only 10 employees in a more hazardous area such as a warehouse would need at least one first aider trained in Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) or First Aid at Work (FAW) (depending on the hazards indicated in the assessment).

An appointed person is someone in charge of first aid arrangements. However, a first aider is someone who has gone through appropriate training.

Choosing the Right First Aid Training

First aid training is widely available from a number of different sources. Some large accredited organisations offer UK wide recognised qualifications in FAW and EFAW. St Johns Ambulance, The British Red Cross and St Andrews all offer training too and then there are those who operate more independently.

Construction site employers will need to exercise due diligence to ensure that they have both the assurance and relevant paperwork, that they have not only checked the level of first aid resources they must make available, but that they have provided the right level of training to their employees from a suitable training organisation.

Does your organisation provide the right levels of first aid and safety training?

Lydon Contracting Ltd

Tel:  01327 811533