The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a consultation on changes to first aid law, which the organisation believes will benefit businesses.
The proposed changes would mean that first aid training would no longer have to be approved by the HSE, as suggested in the independent Löfstedt report compiled by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, who recommended that the amendment be made to the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations (1981).
The report noted that forcing the HSE to approve sessions before they can take place had “little justification providing the training meets a certain standard”, although the Executive will still monitor companies as closely as ever to check they are meeting their first aid requirements.
The consultation runs for six weeks and the HSE and its Board will make a recommendation to ministers on how to proceed after reviewing the responses.
If the amendment is adopted, the HSE believes that it will give businesses greater flexibility in choosing first aid training and providers that are suitable for their particular place of work and stresses that it is vital for businesses to have trained first aiders on site in case of accidents.
The HSE is also seeking views on whether the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) to the Regulations provides practical advice on how to comply with them.
The Executive is also proposing to make revisions to its first-aid guidance, which helps employers ensure they adopt suitable first-aid arrangements in the workplace.
In addition, there is no exemption for smaller companies, as the HSE is saying that enterprises with fewer than five employees must also have an employee who can administer first aid, although the Executive accepts that some businesses will have greater need for trained first aiders than others.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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