Following on from meetings between governing parties in the First Aid world, the HSE and the First Aid Awarding Organisation forum (FAAOF) have released further statements regarding the resumption of first aid training during the coronavirus outbreak.
Although we're not there yet, we're moving towards the Government's COVID alert level 3. To help you to make informed decisions about staying compliant and reorganising your training, we're publishing the details of their statements. We've also picked out the key points that you should watch out for.
The HSE's Statement
First aid cover and qualifications during the coronavirus outbreak
As always, you should check out the HSE's latest position directly via their website. However, the key points are these:
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 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.
Requalification training in Scotland and Wales
It is accepted that training capacity in Scotland and Wales, and for some parts of the emergency services across Great Britain, might take longer to build.
The deadline for completing requalification training in Scotland and Wales (and in relevant GB emergency services), will therefore be reviewed by HSE over the coming months. Employers or certificate holders should still try to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.
Annual refresher training
If first aiders are unable to access annual refresher training face to face during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HSE supports the use of online refresher training to keep their skills up to date.
HSE still strongly recommends that the practical elements of actual FAW, EFAW and requalification courses are delivered face to face, so that competency of the student can be properly assessed.
Interrupted first aid training
If because of coronavirus you cannot complete training for your first aid qualification within the usual timeframe, training can restart at a later date as long as:
- a full recap of training delivered before the interruption is done before moving onto undelivered modules
- the awarding body is content that you can show:
- a full understanding of all aspects of the course content
- the knowledge required and competencies at the end of the training
This statement is much more about guidance for training providers rather than first aiders. But it does explain the measures that the training industry is undertaking to make sure we keep you, your staff and our trainers safe during training.
HTS Training will be following these measures as we restart courses. And as guidance changes, we'll be keeping in line with that too.
You can read the latest full text of the FAAOF's statement on their site, or we've also added the key points for you below:
FAAOF recommend that first aid training (other than absolutely essential first aid training) should not restart until after the government has changed the COVID-19 alert status to Level 3.
Training must only take place where this is permissible in accordance with the UK Government and devolved administrations or regional restrictions.
Where training takes place, the following guidance must be followed: