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Checking credentials is vital under new health and safety rules

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: October 10, 2013

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ST JOHN Ambulance is urging employers to protect their staff and customers by checking the credentials of first aid training providers after changes to regulations which came into effect from yesterday, October 1.

The changes to workplace first aid rules mean employers will no longer be restricted to choosing a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approved training provider.

The HSE will no longer be checking credentials through the current approval and monitoring process.

However, it will require employers to undertake due diligence to ensure their chosen provider meets clear educational and clinical standards.

The HSE will continue to regulate the role of the first aider within the workplace. John Cavanagh, Regional Commercial Training Director for St John Ambulance in the Midlands, said: “As first aid training providers can no longer demonstrate quality through holding an HSE licence, it’s important that employers review the new guidance carefully and ensure that the training they choose conforms to this guidance.

“Hiring an organisation that is unable to meet the educational and clinical standards to teach first aid correctly can potentially put lives at risk. There were 14 workplace deaths in the West Midlands during 2012- 2013, with a five-year average of 15 per year.

“High quality first aid training should be a priority for all organisations as it is essential that first aiders have the competence and confidence to be the difference between life and death.” To help businesses ensure that their first aiders are being trained to the highest standard, the HSE is providing improved guidance documents that will replace the existing Approved Code of Practice (ACoP). St John Ambulance recommends that employers consider the specific first aid needs of their workplace, taking into account issues such as employee absence and existing health conditions among staff.

By using the guidance and case studies provided by the HSE, employers can make sure they choose the right first aid cover for their business, based on its risk profile.

The HSE regulation changes follow a report made by Professor Ragnar E Lofstedt in 2011, which set out to reduce health and safety red tape and regulatory burden on public and private sector organisations. St John Ambulance has guidance on its website to help businesses navigate the change in regulation.

V i s i t www.sja.org.uk/firstaidregulations or call 0844 770 4800.

St John Ambulance has 27 training venues across the West Midlands.

It offers a range of courses including first aid at work, emergency first aid at work, annual refresher, automated external defibrillator, medical gases and fire marshal training.

Courses can be delivered on-site at businesses or in one of the organisation’s training centres.

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