We are often asked how often is first aid training required, and in most cases, the answer is at least every three years, with annual first aid refresher courses also strongly recommended by the HSE.
If you have undertaken, and passed, a first aid at work training course or an emergency first aid at work training course, you will receive a certificate that is valid for three years from the date of issue. Three day first aid at work certificates can be renewed by taking a two day refresher course, as long as the renewal course in undertaken within 28 days of the certificate expiry date.
Specialist paediatric first aid at work certificates are also valid for three years, however AED defibrillator awareness training certificates are only valid for one year.
What are the different levels of first aid training?
There are two main levels of first aid training:
The type of course you need to attend will depend on a number of factors, including the level of risk within your workplace, the potential treatments you may be required to administer and the depth of knowledge you will need to look after the workforce and any customers or visitors.
Your employer will decide this by carrying out a first aid needs assessment, which will take into account any hazards within the workplace, the health and health history of the workforce and the number and distribution of the staff within the company.
Workers such as nannies, playgroup leaders and child minders, who work with children under the age of 8, may be required to hold a paediatric first aid certificate.
Who needs first aid training?
You need to have first aid training if you are an appointed first aider within your company or organisation. There are no set numbers for appointed first aiders, however the HSE does offer comprehensive guidanceon appropriate levels of first aid provision, as well as case studiesto illustrate how to determine the numbers of appointed first aiders required.
In certain cases, an appointed person may be required to administer first aid provision, maintain first aid equipment and to summon the emergency services. Such appointed persons are not required to have first aid training, however it can be useful if they are needed as cover in an emergency.
Why do first aid certificates expire?
Some people wonder why, having undergone professional first aid training for up to three days, they are required to retrain again after just three years. After all, you only have to pass your driving test once, and most other courses and qualifications are taught only once.
However, unlike driving, which you do on a regular basis, you may not have to use your first aid skills very often during those three years, and some skills may not be used at all. This is especially true about life saving treatments such as CPR, dealing with choking and major wounds. Without regular practice, it is easy to forget what you have been taught. This is called skills fade and can lead to confusion and critical delays to emergency treatment.
Why do I need to renew my first aid training
You need to retrain in first aid in order to keep your skills fresh and familiar to you, so that you can act promptly and effectively in an emergency situation. Regular retraining also keeps you right up to date with the latest practices and procedures in first aid, teaching you about new treatments and equipment, such as AED machines.
From a legal standpoint, once your first aid certificate expires, you are no longer considered qualified to deliver first aid, even if you still feel that you have the knowledge and experience to do so. Once your first aid certificate expires, your employer may no longer be meeting their statutory obligations under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and faces the risk of prosecution.
It is essential, therefore, to be aware of the expiry date of your first aid training certificate, and to arrange either refresher training or further first aid training as appropriate.
If you are a registered child minder or registered playgroup worker, then you must renew your paediatric first aid qualification in order to retain your registration. If you let your first aid training lapse then you will automatically lose your registration and all the rights and benefits that come with it.
How to renew a first aid training certificate
For your convenience, you can renew a first aid training certificate anytime from 90 days before expiry, with the new certificate still starting from the expiry date.
Emergency first aid at work training must be retaken in full, with the complete one day course, however the longer three day first aid at work training can be refreshed with a two day requalification course, as long as this is undertaken before expiry or within 28 days of your certificate expiring.
You cannot attend a twoday first aid at work requalification course more than 28 days after your certificate expires. Once this time has elapsed, you must undertake the full three day course in order to re-qualify.
The two hour AED training certificate is valid for one year and the course must be refreshed in full to achieve re-certification.
First aid training refresher courses
While the law states that first aid certificates must be renewed or refreshed every three years, the Health and Safety Executive also strongly recommends candidates attend anannual first aid refresher course. This is a three hour course that reminds candidates of the key skills in treating unconscious patients, wounds, bleeding and shock, as well as refreshing knowledge on how to act promptly and effectively in an emergency situation and how to deliver CPR.
Annual first aid refresher courses are aimed at both emergency first aid at work candidates and first aid at work candidates. They take just half a day to complete and while not compulsory, are well worth the time and effort to keep first aiders confident and competent.
I hope this has answered any questions about, how long doe’s first aid certificate last