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Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981



The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 came into operation on 1st July 1982.

The Regulations are not available electronically, except as contained within the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, L74, First aid at work.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 lay down three broad duties governing the provision of first-aid to people at work.

  • The duty of employers to provide first-aid.
  • The duty of the employer to inform employees of these arrangements.
  • The duty of the self employed person to provide first-aid equipment.

Employers have a duty to provide first-aid equipment and facilities which is both adequate and appropriate in the circumstances. In order to determine what will satisfy the above criteria the employer should carry out an assessment of the hazards likely or foreseeably present within the particular workplace in order to provide adequate and suitable provisions.

The approved code of practice lays down the criteria to be adopted to determine what equipment, facilities and personnel they require, as follows:

  • The number of employees.
  • The nature of the undertaking.
  • The size of the establishment and the distribution of the employees.
  • The location of the establishment.
  • The use of shift working.
  • The distance of the location from outside medical services.

The above criteria should determine what equipment and facilities are adequate in a given set of circumstances. All establishments should provide at least one first-aid box. The regulations also lay down criteria for the construction and contents of first-aid boxes.

The employer must inform his employees of the arrangements in connection with the provision of first-aid including the location of equipment, facilities and personnel. Such information can be provided during an induction programme for new employees. Suitable notices should be displayed in prominent positions indicating the locations of first-aid facilities and the names and locations of first-aid personnel. On construction sites the site personnel must be informed of the first aid provisions and the identity of the first aiders during the site induction. On CDM notifiable projects the principal contractor will manage and maintain the first-aid provisions, but this does not relieve the contractors of their legal obligations as employers.

Content of the Regulations

  1. Citation and commencement
  2. Interpretation
  3. Duty of employer to make provision for first-aid
  4. Duty of employer to inform his employees of the arrangements made in connection with first-aid
  5. Duty of self employed person to provide first-aid equipment
  6. Power to grant exemptions
  7. Cases where these rules do not apply
  8. Application to mines
  9. Application offshore
  10. Repeals, revocations and modification
  11. Repeals
    • Schedule 1: Repeals
    • Schedule 2: Revocations

HSE ACoPs and Guidance

All HSE documents are available to purchase or to freely download from the links below.