Covid-19 Update

In light of the latest government and industry advice on Coronavirus (Covid-19) measures, we want to re-assure you that our workplace first aid and health & safety training courses will continue to run as scheduled across the UK.

This situation is constantly evolving and we will endeavour to keep you informed of changes that impact our training.

Updated:  6 November 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) government updates

The governments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are continually reviewing their specific guidance and regulations relating to coronavirus (Covid-19) in their respective areas.

We will continue to provide essential training to help support vital industry sectors and employers such as manufacturing and construction to keep operating subject to government guidance, venue availability and customer demand. People who are on the government furlough scheme are still able to attend our training courses if this is in agreement with their employer.

The ‘Rule of 6’ is predominantly for social gatherings with members of the public and not for workplace. We will continue to offer workplace first aid training courses in safe environments to enable companies to remain compliant and meet their business needs.

Employers will need to consider their need for training in light of local government restrictions and the extension period for first aid certificates now required by the HSE. Find out more in our blog

We are training in locations across the UK

Even though we have resumed training across the UK, our main priority continues to be ensuring the health and safety of our learners and employees so that the necessary social distancing and control measures are in place.

We will be adhering strictly to the relevant government advice as well as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the First Aid Quality Partnership

Please be aware that we're currently experiencing a high demand for training courses and we're doing our best to ensure that all of our customers are booked on the earliest possible training course available.

Where can you train?

We have gradually increased the number of locations across the UK where we are training subject to government guidance, venue availability and customer demand. We will continue to monitor this situation to ensure that the adaptations to our training delivery continue to meet our customers’ requirements, government, and industry guidelines.

For more information on where we are currently training visit our main where we train page and enter your location search details and the nearest available training locations will be shown.

If you have already booked training with us and it is not available at the location, we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We will contact you to arrange a transfer to a course in the future at your preferred location without additional charge.

If you have not heard from us, please email rctsales@redcross.org.uk or call 0344 871 8000

How we are ensuring the health and safety of people on our courses

We have implemented the following measures to keep learners and our employees safe:

  • We will ask anyone who is unwell with symptoms of Covid-19 to not attend the course.
  • In some training locations (British Red Cross buildings), we are issuing a face mask on arrival which is to be worn in all indoor communal areas outside of the training room. 
  • The seating in our breakout areas and training rooms will be 2 metres apart to allow social distancing on the arrival and throughout the day. Learner numbers on courses have been reduced to permit this.
  • Whenever reasonably practical, social distancing will be maintained.
  • For sessions of training and assessment where it is necessary to come within 2 metres of other learners, related to a situation where a first aider may be expected to wear PPE in a real emergency, appropriate PPE will be provided.
  • Necessary small group work will be done within the same groups to minimise the number of people with whom learners come into closer contact.
  • We encourage regular use of hand washing facilities and provide alcohol-based hand sanitisers in each training room for regular use.
  • One manikin will be provided per learner. We have also significantly increased stocks of manikin faces and face shields and adhere to rigorous cleaning and sanitising procedures.
  • All equipment is cleaned regularly.
  • For more information on what you can now expect on your course with Red Cross Training after lockdown. Click here to download our leaflet.

What if you require training at your premises?

We continue to undertake onsite training at your premises in line with current practice. We require a risk assessment demonstrating additional required measures, room size, social distancing, and Covid Safe measures at your site.

Please send enquiries to rctsales@redcross.org.uk or call 0344 871 8000. Find out more in our blog >

Which courses are you able to book?

To support businesses and employees returning to work our focus will be on our normal schedule of essential workplace first aid and health and safety training, so the following courses will be available:

First aid at work (3 day)

Emergency first aid at work (1 day)

First aid at work requalification (2 day)

Paediatric first aid

Fire marshal training

First aid for members of the public

We are temporarily not taking bookings for face to face public first aid training courses due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation. This specifically relates to our face to face courses for First aid for baby and child and First aid for adults. We will continue to monitor the situation and advise when our public courses will resume.

However, there are still many ways that members of the public can still learn first aid skills without attending a classroom-based course which are easily accessible.

Learn with apps

The free British Red Cross First Aid app and Baby and Child First Aid app can give you first aid at your fingertips. Both apps are packed with useful videos, animations and tips, plus first aid quizzes to test your knowledge.

Learn online

Learn via our first aid skills page for members of the public. with videos and simple steps for a wide range of scenarios. You can also attend one of our free digital workshops to learn essential first aid skills.

How can I make a booking?

You can continue to make bookings in the normal way subject to course and venue availability.

Make a booking on our site by following this link; call 0344 871 8000 or email rctsales@redcross.org.uk

What if I need to change a booking?

If you need to contact us to arrange a transfer of your booking, please email us on rctsales@redcross.org.uk  This also applies to courses booked and subsequently impacted by further Covid-19 restrictions.

What if my certificate is due to expire?

Although the British Red Cross has resumed first aid training and assessment, the HSE recognises that there could be a backlog or limited availability with some first aid training providers so has now updated its guidance on first aid at work certificates expiring after 16th March 2020.  The new guidance updated on 23 September 2020 states that:

  • 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 so. 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
    o the level of first aid provision necessary in high risk settings is fully maintained, e.g. in construction, agriculture, engineering and chemicals
  • This guidance now applies to employers in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. For more information visit the HSE website.
  • The Department for Education has now also announced that Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate requalification training has been extended to 25 November 2020 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020.

What are the main changes to how first aid skills will now be taught?

Courses include information about how first aid can be performed safely during the current Covid-19 pandemic, following current guidance from Resuscitation Council (UK). Click here to read our blog, highlighting some of the additional first aid information that will be covered on first aid courses.

Wearing of face coverings and masks in RCT face-to-face training

What is the difference between a face covering and a face mask in this context?

Face coverings are made of cloth or other textiles and people are advised (and, in some cases, legally required) to use them where social distancing may be difficult. Their purpose is to reduce the risk of transmission of virus particles from the person who is wearing it. They provide little to no protection from anyone else. A face mask refers to either a fluid resistant surgical mask (provided by Red Cross Training on first aid courses) or a filtering face piece (FFP) respiratory mask. The masks provide protection to the wearer and reduce the risk of infection from the wearer to others.

Do learners have to wear a face covering or face mask?

Face covering – wearing a face covering is a matter of personal choice for learners attending our workplace courses but are not a general requirement as we maintain social distancing at 2m as our primary risk mitigation. If a learner attends the course wearing a face covering, they are free to wear their own device whenever they see fit. However, where face masks are required for practical activities related to assessment, the learner must wear the face mask provided by the Red Cross.

Face mask - on occasions where social distancing cannot be maintained (assessments) learners will be provided with a fluid resistant face mask which must be worn by all learners for the duration of the activity.

What if I cannot wear the mask provided?

We have reviewed the guidance and consider that in the interest of safety and our risk management the wearing of a fluid resistant mask (PPE) is required for all occasions where social distancing cannot be maintained.

The safety of our learners and employees is of paramount importance, so it would not be acceptable to permit social distancing to be broken without appropriate mitigations in place, nor can we effectively assess learners against our assessment criteria without social distancing being broken. All available options will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with government and public health advice and other contributory factors with may impact the current decision.

This also complies with the advice provided for first aid training organisations by the  First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) statement.

What can a first aider do to help during the Coronavirus outbreak?

If you have been trained in first aid you may be wondering how you can put your skills to use to support people in the community and whilst at work during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Find out more in our blog >

How to protect myself when performing first aid during the Coronavirus outbreak?

Providing first aid to someone who is unresponsive and not breathing is crucial in making sure that they have the best chance of recovery. However, it is also important that you take measures to protect yourself during the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to reduce the potential risk of infection when giving first aid. Find out more in our blog >

In terms of general first aid advice, at the moment, the advice is to encourage people to help themselves where possible with us offering guidance on what to do. e.g. can you put pressure on your wound by holding it firmly with your hand - this helps us to maintain social distancing.

It is more important than ever to wear gloves if easily available, follow hand washing guidance and be extra vigilant with how you dispose of waste. To find everything you need to know about wearing gloves and keeping as safe as possible as a first aider read our blog: Do workplace first aiders need to wear gloves >

As this is an ever changing situation, up to date information from the Resuscitation Council UK can be found here >

Up to date information for first aiders and first responders from Public Health England can found here >

How can you help ensure first aid cover as your employees return to work?

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 activities that they are doing.

Keep enough first aid cover

If there are fewer people coming into your workplace it may still be safe to operate with reduced first aid cover. You could also stop higher risk activities.

Share first aid cover with another business

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 provided the temporary cover must make sure they do not adversely affect their own first aid cover. Find out more in our blog >

How else can I get practical first aid advice during this period?

We have a number of resources available to help keep your first aid skills refreshed including:

*Please be aware that our online First Aid Annual Skills update course is not certified, but it can help you refresh your first aid knowledge

How else can I help during this period?

If you have been trained in first aid you may be wondering how you can put your skills to use to support people in the community and whilst at work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find out more in our blog >

Learn first aid so if you have an accident at home you can help your family and friends, potentially alleviating pressure on our busy health services. Our online first aid advice and first aid apps provide clear, easy to follow steps to help someone in a first aid emergency. Learning basic first aid skills can help to relieve symptoms and decide if you should go to hospital.

We are looking at ways our volunteers can make a difference during this time of uncertainty. If you think you may be able to help you can sign up to become a community reserve volunteer, which is a network of people ready to help safely in any way needed, from sharing public health messages to safely helping those who are the most vulnerable. Find out here how you can give help or get help during the Covid-19 pandemic.