Holiday risk to medical cover

Madam,

Leading first aid organisation St John Ambulance is urging businesses in Derbyshire to ensure they have trained first aiders working over the summer holidays or potentially face prosecution.

With summer months the most popular for staff leave, businesses can be left without sufficient trained first aiders and fire marshals in the event of an emergency.

St John Ambulance is targeting firms in Derbyshire with a ‘Wish You Were Here’ style postcard to remind them of their first aid and fire marshal obligations over the summer months.

By law, all workplaces must comply with Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, which means employers must have the adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and staff in place to enable first aid to be given at work.

It is also a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to nominate an appropriate number of fire marshals to assist in implementing emergency procedures identified in a risk assessment. Appointing Fire Marshals ensures the business is legally covered. If there is a fatality because employers fail to ensure proper health and safety procedures were in place, they face prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

Seventy-nine per cent of businesses have periods where there are no trained first aiders present. This figure can increase during times when a large proportion of staff, including workplace first aiders, take annual leave.

St John Ambulance in the Midlands is now offering a 15 per cent discount on first aid courses and fire marshal courses attended before September 30, 2011.

Mel Fox, regional director for St John Ambulance training in the Midlands, said: “More staff are away in summer than any other time of the year but accidents don’t take holidays. Employers can unwittingly overlook the fact that their first aiders could be absent when an accident happens.

“This can especially be the case in small businesses with very few employees, where there may be only one first aider.”

Mr Fox added: “As an organisation, we would advise every businesses to carry out a risk assessment based on their needs, including things such as first aider absence, the injuries that are most likely in workplace and cover for shift work.

“As well as a legal obligation, employers will also want to make sure that if something happens to one of their team that someone is there who knows what to do.

“There is no doubt a trained first aider can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved – sadly up to 150,000 people a year die in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live. We don’t want that to happen at any businesses in Derbyshire this summer and would urge concerned employers to get in touch with us to discuss their needs.”

Courses can be delivered on-site at businesses or in one of the organisation’s training centres.

For more information contact St John Ambulance on 0844 324 5535.

St John Ambulance

Derbyshire