The number of First Aiders and type of qualification necessary for adequate first aid cover varies on a number of issues.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require you to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and people so your employees can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work.What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in your workplace and you should assess what your first-aid needs are. The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is: a suitably stocked first-aid kit , an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements , information for employees about first-aid arrangements . It is important to remember that accidents and illness can happen at any time. Provision for first aid needs to be available at all times people are at work.

 What should I consider when assessing first-aid needs? Some small workplaces with low-level hazards may need only the minimum provision for first aid. But there are circumstances and factors that will mean you need greater provision. You, as an employer, are well placed to decide the provision you need. 

What is an appointed person? Where your assessment of first-aid needs identifies that a trained first-aider is not required in your workplace, you should appoint someone to take charge of first-aid arrangements. This is the minimum requirement. Even in a small, low-hazard business where first-aiders are not considered necessary, there is always the possibility that an accident or sudden illness may occur. It is therefore important that there is always someone available to take charge of these arrangements. The role of this appointed person includes looking after first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. They can also provide emergency cover where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances (annual leave does not count). An appointed person does not need first-aid training. An appointed person is not necessary where there are an adequate number of appropriately trained first-aiders.

What is a first-aider? A first-aider is someone who has done training appropriate to the level identified in the needs assessment. This may be: first aid at work (FAW); or emergency first aid at work (EFAW); or some other first-aid training appropriate to the particular circumstances of your workplace. First aid at work  The findings of your first-aid needs assessment will identify whether first aiders should be trained in FAW, EFAW, or some other appropriate level of training. EFAW training enables a first-aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. FAW training includes the same content as EFAW and also equips the first-aider to apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illness.

Other appropriate levels of training may have specialist or additional content appropriate to your particular circumstances. To help keep their basic skills up to date, it is strongly recommended that your firstaiders undertake annual refresher training.

How many appointed persons or first-aiders do I need? There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers. It will depend on the circumstances of your workplace. Table below provides a general guide on how many appointed persons or first aiders you might need. The numbers given in the table  are suggestions only. You should assess your first-aid needs in the light of your particular circumstances. Where there are special circumstances, such as shift work or sites with several buildings, there may need to be more first-aid personnel than set out in table . You will also need to increase your provision to cover for absences.

From your risk assessment, what degree of hazard is associated with your work activities?How many employees do you have?What first-aid personnel do you need?
Low-hazard, eg offices, shops, librariesFewer than 25


More than 50


At least one appointed person

At least one first-aider trained in EFAW

At least one first-aider trained in FAW for every 100 employed (or part thereof


Higher-hazard, eg light engineering and assembly work, food processing, warehousing, extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments, construction, chemical manufactureFewer than 5


More than 50


At least one appointed person

At least one first-aider trained in EFAW or FAW depending on the type of injuries that might occur

At least one first-aider trained in FAW for every 50 employed (or part thereof)


Further information is available at

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