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New First Aid at Work (FAW) courses start in October 2009

Some time ago the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) had a survey on First Aid Training. I did participate in that survey, although I’m not a big fan of the outcome. The result was that last year they published the new guidelines for First Aid at Work training and the new training courses will start from 1st October 2009. If you are booking a first aid at work course after that date then you will be on the new course.

The main differences that will be seen is a reduction in the length of and initial first aid course from 4 days to 3 days. The rational behind this is due to a shift from manufacturing to service industry and that first aid protocols have been simplified so don’t take as long to teach. Although they have a point that first aid is getting easier (which is definitely a positive move) I would rather see it remain as 4 days to instead improve the training and to give more hands-on practice.

The 2-day requalification course for subsequent renewals remains the same.

The HSE recommend that a 3 hour update is taken every year excluding the year in which a 3-day initial or 2-day requalification is taken. Although I agree this is a good idea (and in fact St John Ambulance has offered these courses for some time), I think this should be compulsory rather than just a recommendation (at least for the first 2 years after the initial FAW).
Many of the workplace first aiders I speak to tell me that they forget what was trained on the course well before the 3 year renewal is up. The problem with it only being a recommendation is that these will have to argue with their employers to be allowed to take the time out and to get funding for the courses. As such I don’t think that as many people will get the opportunity to go on them.

In addition to the 3-day First Aid at Work (FAW) course there will also be an alternative Emergency First Aid in the Workplace (EFAW) which is only one day long. This is a more formalised qualification to the First Aid for appointed persons course that St John Ambulance run, but at least this more formal recognition should encourage more to attend (as depending upon the size and type of workplace an appointed person doesn’t necessarily need to receive any training).

These are my own views as an employee rather than an employer. I’m sure that many employers would have the opposite opinion to balance first aid needs with the expense on their business.

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Note: The First Aid Quiz website is not a substitute for proper First Aid Training provided by a registered training organisation (such as St John Ambulance).