Updates to First Aid at Work Risk Categorisation

The HSE believes that the identification of hazards in the workplace is a more useful method of deciding the level of first aid provision required. So the old three risk categories have been reduced to two hazard categories:

  • Lower Hazard e.g. offices, shops , libraries.
  • Higher Hazard e.g. light engineering and assembly work, food processing, warehousing, extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments, construction, chemical manufacture.

Hazard is a specific type of accident or injury that can happen in your workplace.A Risk describes the likelihood of that accident or injury occurring.Employers are required to carry out an assessment of first aid needs. This involves consideration of:

  • workplace hazards
  • number of employees
  • history of accidents
  • travelling, remote and lone workers
  • work patterns (adequate cover must be provided when any member of the workforce is present)
  • the distribution of the workforce
  • the remoteness of the site from emergency medical services. Is additional training or equipment required?
  • annual leave and other absences of first aiders and appointed persons
  • first-aid provision for non-employees

Click here for more information about carrying out an assessment of first aid needs.The nature of the work and risks to health and safetyOne of the more complicated areas of the new first aid needs assessment is considering ‘the nature of the work'. You should consider the hazards and identify what possible injuries could occur in order to ensure sufficient first aid provision is available.The following table identifies some common workplace hazards and the possible injuries that could occur:

HSE Hazards Table.jpg

This table if taken from the HSE Approved Code of Practice.  Click here to download a full copy of this document.