Choosing an appointed person or first aider

All organisations need to appoint someone to take charge of first aid arrangements in the workplace.

Your needs assessment will determine if you need an appointed person or a first aider.

What’s the difference between an appointed person / first aider?

An appointed person is someone who is nominated to take charge of first aid arrangements, such as looking after the first aid kit and calling an ambulance in an emergency.

A first aider is someone who is qualified to give first aid treatment in the event of an injury or illness.

Responsibilities Appointed person First aider
Looks after first aid equipment and facilities
Takes charge when someone is injured or becomes ill
Calls the emergency services if they are needed
Makes an initial assessment of the injury or illness
Gives appropriate first aid to the casualty until help arrives
Maintains injury/illness records as required

While they can support a qualified first aider, appointed persons should not attempt to give first aid for which they have not been trained; however they can provide emergency cover if a first aider is unexpectedly absent.

What training does an appointed person / first aider person need?

Appointed persons don't have to be formally trained, but we recommend they take an appointed persons course.

First aiders must be qualified (and hold a current certificate) in first aid at work or emergency first aid at work.

Courses which entitle you to act as an Appointed person First aider
First aid at work  ✓  ✓
First aid at work requalification  ✓  ✓
Emergency first aid at work  ✓  ✓
Paediatric first aid  ✓  
First aid for appointed persons  ✓  ✗
First aid annual skills update  ✓  ✗

How to choose an appointed person / first aider

Becoming an appointed person or first aider is more than just fulfilling a legal requirement; it could make the difference in saving someone's life.

The duties of an appointed person or first aider can be physically and mentally demanding, so it’s important that employers choose suitable people (aged over 18) for these roles.

Whether your needs assessment identifies that you need an appointed person or first aider, there are similar questions you should ask yourself when choosing someone to fulfil these roles.

  • Willingness: is this something the person can enjoy and take pride in?
  • Personality: are they calm and confident enough to cope in an emergency?
  • Reliability: will they be available and easily reachable in a crisis?
  • Ability: are they physically able to carry out the procedures?

Whoever you choose, you must ensure they have the time, authority and support to undertake their duties.

Please see our terms and conditions of booking for further details on what is required of people who attend our first aid at work courses.