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COVID-19 UPDATE - First Aid Certificate Expiry Date Extension

/media/firstaidtips/library/1.jpgMany of you need to hold a first aid qualification in order to keep other qualifications and your insurance valid and will be wondering what to do if your certificate is due to expire or has already expired and you have been unable to attend a first aid course.

Organisations are beginning to issue guidance for their members in this case and we will collate all that we find and keep this page updated. For the moment the HSE and the Department for Education have issued the following guidance for expiring First Aid at Work, Emergency First Aid at Work and Paediatric First Aid qualifications.

COVID-Safe First Aid Training

If you need to renew your personal first aid certificate we have relaunched our public programme of first aid training courses in London. You can see the latest dates and venues here on our London Public First Aid Course Calendar. Attending a public course is also useful if you are a small business with only a couple of staff that need the training.

React First can also send a trainer to your premises to conduct the training. We have strict venue requirements regarding cleanliness and size to allow social distancing between learners. You must also consider which employees are asked to be workplace first aiders, those with increased risk from contracting covid-19 may not be suitable at the moment. Please contact us for more information about booking a private, in-house first aid course.

It is important to understand that attending a practical first aid training course cannot be 100% risk free in the current situation. Please read our article on the risks involved and the additional safety measures in place on courses to reduce the risks of covid-19 transmission during a first aid course:


HSE Coronavirus First Aid at Work Guidance

Please see below for guidance for First Aid at Work requalification and validity periods: This HSE guidance on first aid during the coronavirus outbreak gives the following advice on first aid cover:

First aid cover and qualifications during the outbreak

If first aid cover for your business is reduced because of coronavirus or you can’t get the first aid training you need, there are some things you can do so that you still comply with the law.

You should review your first aid needs assessment and decide if you can still provide the cover needed for the workers that are present and the activities that they are doing.

Keep enough first aid cover

If fewer people are coming into your workplace it may still be safe to operate with reduced first aid cover. You could also stop higher-risk activities.

Share first aid cover with another business

You could share the first aiders of another business, but be sure that they have the knowledge, experience and availability to cover the first aid needs of your business.

Shared first aiders must:

  • be aware of the type of injuries or illnesses that you identified in your first aid needs assessment and have the training and skills to address them
  • know enough about your work environment and its first aid facilities
  • be able to get to the workplace in good time if needed
  • Whoever provides the temporary cover must make sure they do not adversely affect their own first aid cover.

First Aid Certificate Expiry Date Extensions

If you hold a first aid certificate that expires on or after 16 March 2020 and cannot access requalification training because of coronavirus, you may qualify for an extension. This applies to:

Offshore Medic (OM)
Offshore First Aid (OFA)
First Aid at Work (FAW)
Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)
How you qualify for the extension

To qualify for the extension, you must be able to:

  • explain why you haven’t been able to requalify
  • demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so.

Requalification training in England

The first aid training industry in England is confident that enough courses will now be available for all required requalification training to take place. HSE has therefore agreed a final deadline for requalification for these qualifications of 30 September 2020.

Department for Education Paediatric First Aid Guidance

The Department for Education has commented as follows:

The Department for Education supports the HSE statement regarding the extension of first aid certificates during coronavirus emergency and that it can be applied to paediatric first aid certificates held by staff in early years provision.

Institute for Outdoor Learning Guidance for Outdoor First Aid qualifications

IOL Outdoor First Aid Statement COVID-19

The HSE has announced a possible 3 month extension to the validity for Offshore Medic (OM), Offshore First Aid (OFA), First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates coming up for renewal on or after 16th March during the current Covid crisis.

In line with the above statement, and the IOL Statement of Good Practice on Outdoor First Aid Training, the Institute view is that Outdoor First Aid courses should be treated in a similar way and a 3 month extension to the validity of Outdoor First Aid (1 Day), Outdoor First Aid (2 Day) and Outdoor First Aid (Advanced) certificates be available to these people able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate the steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.

Links to certificate extension guidance issued by other organisations and governing bodies

Increasing numbers of organisations and governing bodies have taken the guidance issued by the HSE an applied it to the first aid certificates held by their members. Our Awarding Organisation, ITC First is in contact with the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) to get a common approach agreed for the UK National Governing Bodies for Outdoor Qualifications. We would hope that the HSE appraoch becomes the commonly accepted approach.

Some organisations are already issuing their own guiance based on that of the HSE:

As we hear of more organisations issuing guidance we will update this article with links.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the React First Office.

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