At the outset of the Covid pandemic many things were stopped during the first lockdown, including First Aid training. This meant that extensions were granted on expiry dates on training that came due in this period.
- Since then, training providers have devised Covid safe ways to deliver training, and training has re-started. However, there is a backlog of training to get through, exacerbated by many courses now running with fewer numbers to maintain the Covid safe precautions. The HSE has the following guidelines on their website regarding First Aid expiry dates:
First Aid at Work (FAW) and Emergency First aid at Work (EFAW) certificates requalification
FAW or EFAW certificates that expired after 16 March 2020 can remain valid until 31 October 2020 or 6 months from date of expiry, whichever is later. All requalification training for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.
To qualify for the extension, employers must be able to demonstrate that:
- they have made every effort to arrange requalification training as soon as possible and can explain in detail why they have not been able to do For example, they must show evidence that staff with expired certificates are booked on to EFAW or FAW requalification courses, if requested by an inspector.
- they have adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to give first aid to any employee who is injured or becomes ill at work.
- the level of first aid cover provided remains appropriate for their particular work environment.
- the level of first aid provision necessary in high risk settings is fully maintained, eg in construction, agriculture, engineering and chemicals.
This guidance now applies to employers in England, Scotland, and Wales.
First aid cover during the pandemic
If first aid cover for your business is reduced because of coronavirus or you can’t get the first aid training you need, there are some things you can do so that you still comply with the law.
You should review your first aid needs assessment and decide if you can still provide the cover needed for the workers that are present and the activities that they are doing. If fewer people are coming into your workplace it may still be safe to operate with reduced first aid cover. You could also stop higher-risk activities.
You could share the first aiders of another business, but be sure that they have the knowledge, experience and availability to cover the first aid needs of your business.
Shared first aiders must:
- be aware of the type of injuries or illnesses that you identified in your first aid needs assessment and have the training and skills to address them.
- know enough about your work environment and its first aid facilities.
- be able to get to the workplace in good time if needed.
Whoever provides the temporary cover must make sure they do not adversely affect their own first aid cover.