Employers FAW Legislation


In the event of injury or sudden illness, failure to provide first aid could result in that person’s death.  The employer should therefore ensure that an employee who is injured or taken ill at work receives immediate attention.

HSE will prosecute in cases where there is a significant risk, a disregard for established standards or persistent poor compliance with the law.  More information can be found in the Health and Safety Executive’s 'Enforcement Policy Statement' [134kb].


Employers' Duties

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work.  These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with five or fewer employees and to the self-employed.  Detailed information can be found in the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance: First aid at work. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 L74.


What is adequate will depend on the circumstances in the workplace.  This includes whether trained first aiders are needed, what should be included in a first aid box and if a first aid room is needed.  Employers should carry out an assessment of first aid needs to determine this. 


Assessment of first aid needs

Employers are required to carry out an assessment of first aid needs. This involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what first aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided.


  • First aid at work: your questions answered - This free HSE leaflet contains a useful checklist covering the points employers should consider when carrying out the assessment.
  • For more information on completing a First Aid Needs Assessment, read our guide here.
  • Identify what level of First Aid training is needed here.
  • Information on First Aid kits for the Workplace here.


Application of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to self-employed workers

The Regulations do not place a legal obligation on employers to make first aid provision for non-employees such as the public or children in schools.  However, HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in a first aid needs assessment and that provision is made for them.  

If you are self-employed, you are required to ensure you have adequate equipment to provide first aid to yourself while at work.


You must make an assessment of the hazards and risks in your workplace and establish an appropriate level of first aid provision.  What this means in practice is that if you work in a low hazard activity, eg clerical work at home, a normal domestic first aid box would be adequate.  If your work involves driving long distances or you are continuously on the road, the assessment may identify the need to keep a personal first aid kit in your vehicle.


Many self-employed people work on mixed premises with other self-employed or with employed workers.  Although you are legally responsible for your own first aid provision, it is sensible to make joint arrangements with the other occupiers and self-employed on the premises.  This would generally mean that one employer would take responsibility for first aid cover for all workers on the premises. HSE recommends there is a written agreement for any such arrangement.



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