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First Aid

In the HSE, many locations may have nurses and doctors available to provide first aid. However, it still may be necessary to appoint an occupational first aider.

The need for an occupational first aider is based on risk assessment.

The risk assessment covers:

  • number of employees
  • nature of the work undertaken
  • degree of hazardous activities
  • level of accidents arising
  • size and location of the workplace
  • distribution of the employees
  • shift working
  • availability of an occupational health service in the workplace
  • distance from external medical services

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) recommend the following number of occupational first aiders based on the conclusion of the risk assessment:

  • Up to 99 employees: 1 occupational first aider
  • 100-399 employees: 1 occupational first aider
  • 400-699 employees: 2 occupational first aiders
  • more than 700 employees: 1 occupational first aider, extra first aider for every 300 employees or part thereof.

If the occupational first aider is unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances, a person may be designated to take charge of an injured or ill person until medical assistance is obtained.

For planned absences, you must ensure trained first aiders are available.

Keeping contact details of first aiders

Your emergency plan must include contact information for the first aiders. This should be on display in the workplace.

The contact details must also be documented in the service's safety statement.

First aid facilities

Premises must have one or more first aid rooms based on your risk assessment of the following criteria:

  • premises size
  • type of activity being carried out
  • frequency of accidents arising
  • existence of special hazards
  • distance from nearest appropriate medical facility

First aid and medication

First aid does not cover the administering of medication. Medication should not be kept in the workplace first aid box.

First aid box

The recommended contents of first aid boxes and travel kits include:

  • adhesive plasters
  • sterile eye pads
  • individually wrapped triangular bandages
  • safety pins
  • individually wrapped sterile medium, large and extra-large unmedicated wound dressings
  • individually wrapped disinfectant wipes
  • paramedic shears
  • examination gloves
  • sterile water where there is no clear running water
  • pocket face mask
  • water-based burns dressing (small and large)
  • crepe bandage

AED - Automatic external defibrillator

An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a portable defibrillator. The provision of an AED is based on risk assessment. It can be used without medical training when responding to a cardiac emergency.

Occupational first aid certification

Occupational first aid certification is valid for 2 years, with occupational first aiders completing refresher training every 2 years thereafter. You can apply for this training through the health and safety helpdesk

Accidents and record-keeping

A clear procedure must be in place for when an accident occurs and first aid is required.

The safety statement should show:

  • names of the occupational first aiders
  • location of first aid rooms
  • location of equipment

Records of first aid training dates, including refresher training, should be kept.

Records of all cases treated by the first aider should be kept securely including:

  • name of injured person
  • type of injury
  • treatment given
  • name of occupational first aider
  • date

Further information on accident and incident reporting

Contact HSE Health and Safety helpdesk

Use the Health and Safety self-service portal or

Phone: 1800 420 420

Monday to Friday 10.30am to 12 noon and 2.00pm to 3.30pm