Coronavirus (Covid-19): First aid in council buildings

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that all services check and review their First Aid needs assessments to ensure they maintain adequate levels of first aid provision during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

First aid arrangements may vary due to the number of staff working at home or in other locations. To address this, all council trained first aiders are asked to: 

  • write your name and contact number on the first aider white boards that will be placed at each reception/main entrance as you enter the building 
  • remove your name when you leave the site

The minimum requirements for first aid arrangements in low risk workplaces is to have a First Aid Appointed Person to oversee your first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the equipment, facilities and calling the emergency services. 

You can have more than one appointed person and they don’t need to have any formal first aid training.

How do I get first aid?

If you need first aid assistance, please call reception for your building or make your way to the main entrance of your building for a list of available first aiders and their contact details.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in First Aid Boxes/Kits

Premises managers must ensure that the required PPE is available in first aid boxes or kits and this must include:

  • disposable gloves 
  • disposable plastic aprons
  • fluid repellent surgical face masks
  • eye protection (such as face visor or goggles). 

A list of other recommended items for first aid boxes/kits is provided in Appendix 2 of the First Aid Standard.

First Aid training 

Face to face training has now resumed. 

It is important that first aiders keep their knowledge up to date. The HSE guidance states that if first aiders are unable to access face to face annual refresher training during the pandemic, they will support the use of online refresher training to keep their skills up to date. Staff who need to renew their certificate or qualification will need to attend face to face training too, when it is resumed.

The British Red Cross and The Resuscitation Council offer awareness training videos on basic life support. 

First aid certificate extensions

The Health & Safety Executive HSE and Department for Education DfE Early years foundation stage: coronavirus disapplications, confirms that First Aiders who hold a First Aid at Work,

Emergency First Aid at Work or Pediatric First Aid certificate that expired on or after 1 October 2020 may be eligible for an extension until 31 March 2021. All requalification training for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.

The Health & Safety Executive have confirmed that First Aid at Work or Emergency First Aid at Work certificates that expired after 16 March 2020 can remain valid until 31 October 2020 or 6 months from the date of expiry, whichever is later. All requalification training for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.

Trained First Aiders who meet the following criteria will qualify for an extension and can continue to deliver first aid. To qualify for the extension, employers must be able to demonstrate that:

  • they have made every effort to arrange requalification training as soon as possible and can explain in detail why they have not been able to do so. For example, they must show evidence that staff with expired certificates are booked on to EFAW or FAW requalification courses, if requested by an inspector
  • they have adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to give first aid to any employee who is injured or becomes ill at work
  • the level of first aid cover provided remains appropriate for the work environment
  • the level of first aid provision necessary in high risk settings is fully maintained, e.g. in construction, agriculture, engineering and chemicals.

Can I volunteer to be a first aider?

In order to maximise our available first aiders in our buildings while we are working flexibly in response to the Covid-19 situation, staff with a first aid qualification through outside organisations (sports clubs, St John's Ambulance etc.) can volunteer to offer first aid support.

If you want to volunteer and haven't had council first aid training, please:

  • add your name to the white board in your building each morning
  • scan in a copy of your first aid certificate and send it to the Health & Safety team at so that we have a record of the training you've received.

Covid-19 guidance for first aiders

The Health, Safety & Wellbeing team have put together some important Covid-19 guidance for first aiders

The guidance sets out how they can administer first aid, and in particular CPR, whilst keeping as safe as possible, and incorporates advice from:

  • the government’s first responders guidance
  • St John's Ambulance
  • the Resuscitation Council.

Legal indemnity – please note that the council's existing Employers’ Liability and Public Liability Insurance will indemnify (on council property) qualified first aiders, whether trained by the council or an outside body while acting within the scope of their duties and training as first aiders for employees, service users, pupils, members of the public etc. on behalf of the council.