HSE launches consultation on first aid law changes

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hoping to gauge public opinion on potential changes to the UK's first aid laws.

Plans are in place to remove the need for first aid training providers to be approved by the HSE, a move that the organisation believes will benefit businesses.

A consultation has been launched and will be open for six weeks, in which time the health and safety authority will assess the popularity of the legislative changes.

The proposals to alter the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (1981) were made in the independent Lofstedt report, the HSE confirmed.

In the report, it was noted that forcing the HSE to approve sessions before they can take place had "little justification provided the training meets a certain standard".

Although the HSE will essentially be taking more of a back seat, it has insisted that it will still monitor companies as closely as ever to check they are meeting their first aid requirements.

"We believe this amendment to the First Aid Regulations will give businesses greater flexibility in choosing training and providers that are suitable for their workplace," commented HSE's consultant manager Andy McGrory.

"HSE will continue to set the standards for existing training."

The earliest any potential law changes could come into effect is April 2013.

HSE chiefs are seeking the public's views on whether the Approved Code of Practice is of any use and the organisation also wants to introduce new guidelines to help employers adopt suitable first aid arrangements.

It is vital that businesses have trained first aiders on site in case there is an accident of some sort.

There is no hiding place for small companies either, as the HSE stipulates that enterprises with fewer than five employees must also have an employee who can administer aid.

Of course, certain jobs have greater first aid requirements than others and industry specific legislation is in place for people who work offshore, where the chances of being injured are obviously significantly higher than in an office environment, for example.

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