From a health and safety perspective, schools are simply another kind of workplace that must adhere to specific requirements. As well as fire safety and a school nurse for health-related incidents, there must be sufficient First Aid equipment and expertise on hand should any issues arise.
Schools are obliged by the law to ensure every employee understands and instigates health and safety precautions to keep the students and each other safe. This means the school needs to be equipped with British Standard Compliant First Aid Kits, and that there is the correct number of trained and qualified First Aid professionals on the premises at all times.
Here is an overview of the current legal regulations regarding First Aid in schools.
Who is Responsible for First Aid?
In all businesses, the head employer is responsible for the safety of their employees while in the workplace. The same applies to schools, except the role of employer varies from one institution to another, and the employees are both the staff and the pupils studying there.
In state schools, the employer is the LEA (Local Education Authorities); in some independent schools it is the owner or the trustees who have the responsibility, and in government-funded sixth form colleges, it is the body in charge who are the employers.
The employer is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient First Aid equipment, materials and trained staff in compliance with government regulations.
How Do You Determine What Your School Needs?
The first thing a school needs to do is undertake a First Aid audit - a risk assessment - to establish what is required according to the size and layout of the institution.
Factors to be considered during a risk assessment are:
What Does the Appointed First Aider Do?
Every school needs one or more qualified First Aiders on site at all times. A First Aider needs to obtain a certificate of qualification from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
A First Aider at school is responsible for dealing with injuries and common illnesses. These can occur as a result of a hazard or simply because someone falls ill. They are also responsible for calling the emergency services if necessary.
What First Aid Equipment Do You Need?
The contents of a First Aid Kit vary depending on where it is being used, how big it is and the types of hazards it is expected to help deal with.
At a school, every First Aid Kit for schools must be green and marked with a white cross. Each kit must be positioned within easy reach and eyesight, and contain the following:
What Needs to Be Reported?
In certain circumstances, schools are required to report incidents where First Aid has been required to the HSE. Records must be kept by the main employer regarding any injuries or accidents that have occurred. This record needs to include the time, date, people involved and a quick overview of the situation.
You must report the incident if:
For more detailed information on everything mentioned above, visit the First Aid in schools government page for a comprehensive guide.