Frequently asked questions

How many first aiders do I need?

There is no fixed level; this will depend on the findings of your first aid needs assessment.

How often do first aiders need to re-qualify?

First aiders should re-qualify every three years, otherwise:

  •  the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) no longer considers them competent to act as a first aider
  • they will not be counted towards the required number of first aiders in your workplace.

First aiders can re-qualify by completing a two-day first aid at work requalification course, but if some time has passed since the certificate expired, the HSE recommends completing the three-day first aid at work course.

We support the HSE recommendation that first aiders have annual refresher training to keep their skills up-to-date.

What first aid equipment do I need?

Employers should provide at least one first aid kit per work site. Your needs assessment will help you identify what equipment you should provide but guidance is also available from the HSE.

A first aid container should be green with a white cross (not a red cross, which is a protected symbol). 

We sell a range of first aid kits to suit all workplaces.

Should we have an automated external defibrillator?

Employers are not required to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine but you may wish to consider providing one for your staff.

If you do provide an AED, only staff with the appropriate training should use it.

Can first aiders give medicine to casualties?

First aid at work training does not include giving tablets or medication except using aspirin to treat a casualty with a suspected heart attack, which is covered in our three-day first aid at work course.

If a colleague has prescription medicine, you may help them to take this but should not administer it for them.

© British Red Cross 2017