AED training added to first aid at work syllabus

Life saving skills

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that from 31 December 2016, all first aid training providers must include automated external defibrillator (AED) trainingon first aid at work courses.

The HSE has revised its first aid at work syllabuses to include AED training, in response to changes to resuscitation guidelines which place more emphasis on the role of an AED in treating a casualty who is unresponsive and not breathing.

Our courses always include the HSE's recommended content; that's why we've introduced practical AED training as part of our one, two, and three day first aid at work courses, ahead of the December deadline.

We will also continue to offer specific courses on how to use an AED for people who require it:


What do these changes mean for employers?

According to the HSE:

  • new first aiders must be trained in how to use an AED
  • existing first aiders don't have to re-train – they will update their skills when they requalify
  • employers don't have to buy an AED for their workplace – the requirement is still dependent on their needs assessment.

What is an AED?

An AED is a portable machine that automatically sends an electric shock to the heart muscle to return it to its normal rhythm. Once opened, it provides full instructions on what you should do.

When should an AED be used?

AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (when a person's heart stops working) and they are unresponsive and not breathing.

30,000 people have a cardiac arrest outside hospital each year* and quick use of an AED (within 3–5 minutes of collapse) can lead to survival rates of 50 to 75 per cent**.

Combined with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using an AED gives an unresponsive person who is not breathing the best possible chance of survival.

Where are AEDs located?

In recent years AEDs have been installed in many busy public places. You may have noticed one at your local train station, shopping centre or school.

Many workplaces also have an AED to ensure they are prepared for a first aid emergency.

Where can I get an AED for my workplace?

We have a variety of AED models available for lease and purchase.

Contact us on 0844 871 8000 or at to find out more about the options available.

* Resuscitation Council UK
** European Resuscitation Council Guidelines for Resuscitation 2015 – Section 2