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Saving lives while being covid safe.


Louise Vickers



Jul 2021

Paediatric First Aid
First Aid

As workplaces start to welcome more staff and visitors, having fully trained staff who can deal with a medical emergency while staying covid safe is vitally important.

I’m often asked  by the lovely people on my courses about providing first aid treatment during this pandemic.

We have been delivering First Aid training courses over the past 13 mths and include as standard up to date cross-infection ideas and measures that can be used quickly and simply in the workplace to keep first aiders safe while dealing with medical emergencies in any setting.

The HSE guidelines are still the same regarding First Aid requirements. All workplaces and school MUST have in place.

  • The correct number of first aiders to the number of staff/ children in your setting.
  • The need for regular staff training to ensure up-to-date skill and Covid security its being met during this time.
  • All First Aiders are training on a legally accredited training course that meets Ofsted requirements if work with children.
  • First Aiders are renewing their skills every 3 years

Complete your own Risk Assessment by following the link below to identify how many first aiders your setting should have on-site at all times;


 As we, hopefully, are heading out of the other side of this pandemic business, schools, organisations, and those self-employed have a legal duty to ensure they can assist quickly if a medical emergency was to occur in the workplace

The HSE guidelines are as follows:

First aid in non-healthcare settings

This guidance will help employers ensure first aiders are confident that they can help someone injured or ill at work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Employers and their first aiders should read the guidance on giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation(CPR) from the Resuscitation Council UK.

Emergency service professionals, such as NHS ambulance workers, will receive advice from their employer about this.

HSE has guidance on First aid cover and qualifications.

Check your first aid needs assessment

As an employer, when reviewing your risk assessment to include working during the pandemic, consider refreshing your first aid at work needs assessment.

Ask your first aiders if there are any factors that should be taken into account as part of your risk assessment. These factors could include vulnerable workers with first aid responsibilities.

You should discuss the risk assessment with your first aiders so they are confident about providing the right assistance.

This includes knowing what equipment they can use to minimise the risk of infection transmission, as explained below.

Guidance for first aiders

Although the UK Government has now removed social distancing in most workplace situations, first aiders should still consider the precautions set out in this guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Try to assist at a safe distance from the casualty as much as you can. Minimise the time you share a breathing zone.

Although treating the casualty properly should be your first concern, you can tell them to do things for you if they are capable.

Remember the 3P model– preserve life, prevent worsening, promote recovery.

Preserve life: CPR

Call 999 immediately –tell the call handler if the patient has any COVID-19 symptoms.

Ask for help. If a portable defibrillator is available, ask for it.

Before starting CPR, use a cloth or towel to cover the patient's mouth and nose. This should minimise the risk of transmission while still permitting breathing to restart following successful resuscitation.

If available, you should use:

  • a fluid-repellent surgical mask
  • disposable gloves
  • eye protection
  • apron or other suitable covering

Only deliver CPR by chest compressions and use a defibrillator (if available) – don't do rescue breaths. For CPR in paediatric settings see guidance from the Resuscitation Council UK.

Prevent worsening, promote recovery: all other injuries or illnesses

If you suspect a serious illness or injury, call 999 immediately – tell the call handler if the patient has any COVID-19 symptoms.

If you’re giving first aid to someone, you should use the recommended equipment listed above if it is available.

You should minimise the time you share a breathing zone with the casualty and direct them to do things for you where possible.

After  providing any first aid treatment

Make sure you discard disposable items safely and clean reusable ones thoroughly.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as soon as possible.

First aid cover and qualifications during the pandemic

If first aid cover for your business is reduced because of COVID-19 or you can't get the first aid training you need, there are some things you can do to comply with the law.

Operate with reduced 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 first aiders with another business but make sure they have the knowledge, experience and availability to cover the first aid needs of your own 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.

Annual refresher training

If first aiders are unable to get annual face-to-face refresher training during the pandemic, we support the use of online refresher training to keep skills up to date.

We still strongly recommend that the practical elements of FAW, EFAW and requalification courses are delivered face to face. This means that the competency of the student canbe properly assessed.

Source HSE.org26.7.21  Author Louise Vickers (CertEd, D32,22 V1)

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