Updated 24/09/2020

The following update is based on information from the Health and Safety Executive, Department of Education, First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) and First Aid Awarding Organisation Forum (FAAOF).

First Aid Cover

You still need to provide adequate first aid cover at your premises open for staff during COVID-19.

It is important to review your First Aid Needs Assessment to see how your first aid needs have changed due to COVID-19. It is important to discuss with staff and first aiders what factors have changed due to COVID-19 and remote working. Your findings may indicate that:

  • you need additional protective equipment
  • you need additional sanitisers
  • you need less first aiders per shift due less staff are in premises
  • you may need to review first aider shift patterns due to who is working from home
  • you can share first aid resource with other companies on the site
  • you have methods where some treatments can be given at a distance and first aiders can talk casualties through their treatment

Additional information can be found at HSE - First aid during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Guidance for First Aiders

When providing first aid, try to keep a safe distance from the casualty and minimize the amount of time you require contact or close proximity. When the casualty is capable, talk them through their own treatment to avoid contact.

In the case of an unconscious or non-breathing casualty, follow the latest Resuscitation Council Guidance to carryout compression-only CPR. You can read more about this guidance, in our news bulleting COVID-19 Resuscitation Advice 12 March 2020.

Certificate Expiry

If you held one of the following first aid certificates that expired on or after 16 March 2020 and due to COVID-19 you could not access requalification training, you may qualify for an extension.

  • Offshore Medic (OM)
  • Offshore First Aid (OFA)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)
  • Paediatric First Aid (PFA)
  • Emergency Paediatric First Aid (EPFA)

The extension is applicable if you can explain why you haven't been able to requalify and you can demonstrate the steps you have attempted to access training.

Offshore

The Offshore Medic and Offshore First Aid Certificate extensions are until 31 October 2020. After this point, the temporary COVID-19 extension will end and qualifications must be in date.

First Aid at Work

The First Aid at Work and Emergency First Aid at Work 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 help understand the new guidance, please see the example table below.

Current Expiry Date New Expiry Date
Between the 16 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 New expiry date of the 31 October 2020
Between 1 May 2020 and 30 September 2020 Add six months to their current expiry date
Between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 New expiry date of the 31 March 2021
After the 1 April 2021 No change

 To qualify for the extension, employers must demonstrate:

  • every effort has been made to access requalification training
  • there are adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to provide first aid
  • the level of cover remains appropriate
  • the level of cover in high-risk areas is maintained

Additional information can be found at HSE - First aid during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Paediatric First Aid

The extension for Paediatric First Aid and Emergency Paediatric First Aid provided by the Department of Education is the 25 November 2020.

First Aid Training

The current guidance from the First Aid Quality Partnership, the HSE and the First Aid Awarding Organisation Forum for face to face training is 'Training must only take place where this is permissible, in accordance with the UK Government and devolved administrations, or regional restrictions'.

First Aid Training can take place for Key Workers where it is identified it is important to their role and safe teaching methods can be followed.

In England, companies are restarting face to face First Aid Training from the 15 June 2020 for non-essential staff where safe distancing at a venue can be achieved and individuals have had no recent symptoms of COVID-19 as per government guidance.

In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland face to face training for essential staff cannot resume until further advice is received from the devolved governments, which is due on the 18 June 2020.

Learning First Aid Online

The HSE deems first aid as a practical skill and requires that practical demonstration and assessment is undertaken. You cannot achieve an HSE approved First Aid Certificate from on-line learning alone.

The HSE allows for blended learning where two-thirds of the course must be delivered face to face and 1/3 via on-line resources, where the individual has the skills to use online learning. The Department of Education allows for 50% of the Paediatric First Aid course to be delivered online.  This should minimise the amount of time in the classroom and the risk from COVID-19. The following can be delivered.

Course Online Face to Face
Emergency First Aid at Work 2 hours 4 hours
First Aid at Work 1 day 2 days
First Aid at Work Refresher 4 hours 8 hours
Emergency Paediatric First Aid None 1 day
Paediatric First Aid 1 day 1 day

If you undertake yearly Continual Professional Development of First Aid, the HSE is accepting you can carry this out on-line during COVID-19.

Information from the HSE Selecting a first-aid training provider and the awarding body First Aid Awards (FAA).