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First Aid Requirements

The Health and Safety Authority has set out the requirements for the provision of first aid in work places as follows:



*1: Where more than 50 persons are employed, pro-rata provision should be made.

*2: Where mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, sterile water or sterile normal saline (0.9%) in sealed disposable containers should be provided. Each container should hold at least 20ml and should be discarded once the seal is broken. Eye bath/eye cups/refillable containers should not be used for eye irrigation due to risk of cross infection. The container should be CE marked.

*3: Where mains tap water is not readily available for cooling burnt area.

Is there some flexibility on the contents of boxes and kits?

The above Table provides a general guide on the recommended contents of occupational first aid boxes and kits based on numbers employed. Quantities indicated in the Table are minimum numbers and can be increased. The requirements for sterile water and water based burns dressings as per note 2 and 3 above are only where there is not a wholesome supply of tap water available. Also a single paramedic shears and pocket face mask is considered adequate.

Occasionally the quantities indicated in the Table will be insufficient and the actual amounts required should be based on a risk assessment. An obvious example is that drivers of dangerous goods vehicles would require a quantity of 2x 500mls of sterile water for eye irrigation in their travel kits due to the risk of contact with hazardous chemicals.

What first aid records and documentation need to be kept?

The names of occupational first aider must be recorded in the Safety Statement along with the location of the first aid rooms, equipment and facilities.

Written records of the dates of all first aid training, including refresher training should be kept at the workplace and be made available on request to the Health and Safety Inspector.
Records of all cases treated by the first aider should be kept in a suitable secure place, respecting their confidential nature and be made available on request to the Health and Safety Inspector.

The table below shows the details to be recorded.

Can a first aider give out painkillers/headache tablets?

First aid does not cover the administration of drugs or medications and they should not be kept in the workplace first aid box or kit. In certain circumstances first aiders can assist in the administration of aspirin if available for suspected cardiac chest pain.

What is an AED?

A defibrillator is a device that delivers an electric shock to the heart muscle through the chest wall in order to restore a normal heart rate.

An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a portable defibrillator designed to be automated such that it can be used by persons without substantial medical training who are responding to a cardiac emergency.

Are occupational first aiders trained in the use of AED?

Yes, AED is part of the Cardiac First Response (CFR) Unit of the new FETAC Level 5 OFA Standard and first aiders are trained in its use.

Are employers required to have an AED?

No, but it would be good practice to have one.

Do I have to have a first aid room at my workplace?

Premises must have one or more first aid rooms if the Safety Statement risk assessment shows that it is necessary and based on 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.

What should be considered when planning and designing first aid rooms?

A number of factors need to be considered when planning, designing and equipping first aid rooms:

Location to take account of proximity to work areas and access for transport to hospital
Sufficient size to include equipment
Entrance wide enough to accommodate ambulance trolley, stretcher
Impervious floor covering, with surfaces easy to clean
Sink facilities with hot and cold running water
Provision of telephone

Where do I get information on the requirements for becoming a first aid instructor?

This information is available from the occupational first aid assessment agent (OFAAA) at www.ofaaa.ieor phone 1890223223.

What are the requirements to become a first aid instructor?

You must be a qualified first aider, having achieved a Merit rating in the FETAC Level 5 Occupational First Aid Standard.

You must be a PHECC recognised CFR instructor

You should have attended an instructor’s training course, although this is not mandatory

You must be assessed by OFAAA or an OFAAA registered organisation who is going to employ you
You must achieve a Merit rating in the FETAC Level 6 Occupational First Aid Instruction Standard

How long is an instructor’s certificate valid for?

5 years, but you must also keep up your PHECC CFR certification every 2 years.

What are the options for an instructor?

You can be assessed by OFAAA and if successful your details will be entered on the Register of occupational first aid training providers.

If you are going to work solely for an organisation registered with OFAAA, you can be assessed by that organisation.

What is the maximum number of learners/trainees to an instructor?

10 is the maximum number for the present. This is to ensure learners have sufficient time to develop first aid skills. The instructor is required to have a mannequin and training AED for every 4 learners.

Who does the first aid assessment?

For a 3 day course a separate instructor must do the assessment.
For the 1 day refresher course, the same instructor or a different instructor can do the assessment.

Do I need a qualified first aider in my workplace?

A risk assessment in the context of the Safety Statement should consider the numbers employed, the nature of the work, the degree of hazard, the level of accidents arising, the size and location of the workplace, the distribution of the employees, shift working, availability of an occupational health service with the workplace and the distance and duration from external medical services etc.

How many first aiders should be present in a workplace?

The table below gives an indicative number of first aiders required for different types of workplaces.


If the designated occupational first aider is absent from the place of work, what must the employer do?

If the occupational first aider is absent in temporary or exceptional circumstances, the employer may designate a person, to take charge of an injured or ill person until medical assistance is obtained. Such person’s functions, if they have not received training in basic life saving skills, would, primarily be to seek appropriate assistance as soon as possible and to ensure that nothing further is allowed to occur which would exacerbate the problems of the injured person.

Foreseeable absences such as planned annual leave are not considered “temporary or exceptional circumstances” In these situations the employer must ensure that there is an adequate number of trained occupational first aiders to cover the foreseeable absences or leave, if the need for an occupational first aider in the workplace has been identified.

How is a first aider contacted?

There must be effective means of communication to contact the first aider when required, which will include a telephone/ mobile phone/ pager/ radio.

How are the emergency services contacted?

The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the local emergency services must be clearly displayed in the workplace. Emergency plans and procedures must be in place and people designated and trained to implement them. It must be clear who makes contact with the emergency services.

When did the changes to occupational first aid commence?

The occupational first aid assessment agent (OFAAA) commenced assessing first aid training providers on the 1st June 2008. The new FETAC Level 5 occupational first aid standard commenced on the 1st September 2008.

Where do I find an occupational first aid training provider?

Employer should only use occupational first aid providers registered with the occupational first aid assessment agent (OFAAA) to deliver training. Details of registered organisations and individual instructors can be found at or by phoning 1890 223 223.

How long is an occupational first aid training course?

A training course is run over a minimum of 3 days or 24 hours with a 2 hour assessment/exam. Courses can be delivered over a number of weeks.

What is the retraining requirement?

Occupational first aiders must do a 1 day refresher and assessment to be re-certified.

When do occupational first aiders need additional training?

Occupational first aiders may need additional specialised training if a work place has employees exposed to any special hazards such as:
risk of poisoning by toxic substances, e.g. certain cyanides and related compounds
risk of burns from corrosive or oxidising substances, e.g. hydrofluoric acid
risk of accidental exposure to hazardous substances, e.g. toxic, irritant or asphyxiant gases, requiring oxygen for resuscitation
Other specific risks identified in the Safety Statement
Additional provisions in other regulations such as administration of oxygen

What type of a certificate does a first aider receive?

A first aider will receive a Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) Level 5 certificate in Occupational First Aid.

Thereafter, the first aider will receive a certificate from the registered training provider for 2 yearly refresher training as FETAC does not issue refresher certificate.

The first aider will receive a proforma letter from the training provider indicating he/she has attended the course and passed the assessment pending the receipt of the FETAC certificate.

Will an existing first aider get a FETAC certificate?

Existing first aiders whose certification is in date who complete the 1 day refresher training based on the FETAC Level 5 Occupational First Aid Standard and pass the assessment outlined in the Standard will receive a FETAC certificate. They will not need to do the full 3 day course.

What happens if a first aider’s certificate lapses?

Where certification for an occupational first aider lapses, a 1 day refresher training is required if the lapse is less than 3 months, otherwise the full 3 day training is required.

How long is certification valid for?

Occupational first aid certification is valid for 2 years after which refresher training is required.

I am an existing occupational first aider. When I am required to do refresher training?

Whenever your existing certificate lapses. For people trained prior to 1st September 2008, this will be 3 years from the date the training took place and will be indicated on your existing certificate. For those trained after the 1st September 2008, the period is 2 years.

Are occupational first aid certificates from other countries valid in Ireland?

No -There are no mutual recognition agreements between Ireland and other countries on occupational first aid. Therefore occupational first aid certificates obtained in other countries are not transferable and are not valid in Ireland. In order to be a valid occupational first aider in Ireland, you must do the training in Ireland.

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