First Aid

How Many First Aiders do I Need? Workplace Guidelines

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

How many first aiders do I need? is a question that every employer should ask themselves when it comes to workplace safety. Accidents can happen anywhere. Having trained individuals on hand is essential to deal with them effectively. In the UK, there are specific guidelines for how many first aiders a workplace needs based on several factors, including the size of the workforce and the level of risk involved in the work.

These guidelines are designed to ensure adequate and appropriate first aid arrangements to deal with any injury or illness that may occur in the workplace.

This write-up will delve deeper into these guidelines and help you determine how many first-aiders you need in your workplace.

First, we’ll go over what a first aider is.

3D illustration of first aider wearing life buoy ring

What is First Aider?

A first aider is an individual who is trained and qualified to provide immediate assistance and basic medical care in the event of an injury or illness. A first aider’s responsibility is to —

  • assess the situation,
  • administer first aid,
  • and ensure that the injured or ill person receives appropriate medical assistance. 

First aiders remain present in a variety of situations, including —

  • workplaces, 
  • schools, 
  • public areas, 
  • sporting events etc.,

And they play a vital role in avoiding additional injury or disease and saving lives. First aid training often involves a wide range of skills, such as —

  • CPR, 
  • wound care, 
  • and handling of medical emergencies,

And this training is essential for anyone who wants to be a competent first aider.

Two paramedics giving oxygen to injured girl

How Many First Aiders do I Need for My Workplace?

It is essential to consider the factors outlined below in response to the question, “How many first aiders do I need for my workplace?”

Close-up of hand making acronym HSE from cubes

What do the Regulations Say?

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 specify how many first aiders an employer requires depending on criteria such as —

  • workplace size,
  • nature of work, and 
  • level of risk. 

According to the regulations, employers must provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities, and personnel to guarantee that employees receive quick assistance if they are injured or become ill at work.

To determine the number of first aiders needed for your workplace, you must assess whether your workplace belongs to a high-risk or low-risk category. That’s why you need to perform a first aid needs assessment.

How to Conduct a First Aid Needs Assessment?

The purpose of first aid needs assessment is to make sure there are adequate provisions in case of an accident. Keeping a written record is recommended, although it’s not required by law. Employers can use the assessment to show inspectors how they determined the level of first aid provision required.

Here are some steps to carry out a first aid needs assessment:

  • What kind of work is done at the workplace?
  • Are there low or high-level hazards?
  • Have there been past accidents at the workplace?
  • Do you have any lone workers?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • Do your employees work on-site or remotely?
  • Are they full-time or part-time workers?
  • What is the nature of your employees? (For instance, young workers, employees with disabilities or health issues, or trainees.)
  • Is the workplace easily accessible for emergency services?
  • Are there many visitors to the workplace?

Plus, if you keep only one first aider, consider what you will do if that person is absent due to sickness or vacation. Ensure a replacement is available who is trained to the same level as the primary first aider.

By reading our informative blog now, discover the easy and essential steps to get your First Aid and CPR certificate.

Illustration of man walking on rope walk way with risk word

Types of Risk Level in Your Work Environment

As you conduct a risk assessment, you need to assess the types of risk level in your work environment to fix the required number of first aiders.

These are categorised into two:

Low-risk Work Environment

The HSE advises that for low-risk work activities, such as those carried out in offices or shops and where there are fewer than 25 employees, an appointed person may suffice, and a first-aider may not be necessary.  

However, if the number of employees in this scenario increases to 25 and 50, at least one EFAW first-aider is required. At a workplace with over 50 employees, there should be one FAW-trained first-aider for every 100 employees.

High-risk Work Environment

In high-risk workplaces where higher-level hazards are present, such as —

  • food processing or chemical manufacturing, 
  • construction sites, 
  • mobile plant sites, 
  • mines, 
  • railways, 
  • and health services,

at least one appointed person is needed if there are fewer than five employees

Companies with 5 to 50 employees should have at least one first-aider trained in either FAW or EFAW, based on the type of injuries that may occur. If the number of employees exceeds 50, at least one FAW-trained first-aider is needed for every 50 employees.  

The chart below shows the required number of first aiders depending on the work environment.

PeopleFirst Aiders (Low Risk)First Aiders (High Risk)
Up to 51 AP1 AP
Up to 251 AP1 EFA
Up to 501 EFA1 FA
Up to 1001 FA2 FA
100+1 FA per 1002 FA per 100


Now, let’s explore the types of first aiders based on the above-mentioned work environment.

Types of First Aiders

Workplace first aiders are categorised into three types as per the HSE guidelines. These are:

Appointed Person

  • If no first aiders are needed, have at least one appointed person for first aid arrangements. 
  • Appointed person should maintain first aid equipment and be able to contact emergency services.
  • Some awareness of first aid is recommended for the appointed person.
  • Appointed person can take charge if the only first aider is unavailable.
  • Appointed person is not needed if enough certified first aiders are available.

Emergency First Aid at Work or EFAW Trained First Aider

It is necessary to complete EFAW training To become a first aider, which teaches how to identify and diagnose injuries and health problems. In general, the role of an emergency first aider is to provide appropriate first aid and prevent the situation from deteriorating while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

First Aid at Work or FAW Trained First Aider

FAW-trained first aiders have extensive training in various first aid skills and can provide immediate assistance during emergencies. They are also equipped to offer first aid for a broader range of injuries and illnesses compared to EFAW-trained first aiders.

Things to Remember

HSE no longer offers first aid training courses. However, if your work demands qualified first-aiders, it is essential to ensure they receive appropriate training, including practical assessment. After completing the training, participants should obtain a First Aid at Work or Emergency First Aid at Work certificate.

To remain a qualified first aider, they must complete FAW or EFAW requalification practical training every three years. They should also keep their skills up-to-date by taking annual refresher training.

We have a range of First Aid Courses available to choose from. Select the one that best suits your needs.

Keep your first aid certification up-to-date with our helpful blog on How Long is First Aid Certification Good For?.

Final Thought

Asking, “how many first aiders do I need” is crucial for workplace safety. The right number of first aiders can mean the difference between minor and major injuries. Remember, assessing your workplace’s risks and needs can help ensure everyone stays safe and healthy.


What is a mental health first aider?

A trained mental health first aider can recognise the signs of a mental health problem, offer initial support and guidance, and direct the person to professional care if necessary. They are crucial for enhancing mental health and well-being in the workplace and the community.

When are first aiders allowed to give medication?

Providing medication or tablets to treat illness is not a part of first aid at work. However, administering aspirin to a person suspected of having a heart attack may be an exception, as it is an accepted first-aid practice.

Can I refuse to be a first aider at work?

Yes, you can refuse to be a first aider at work. But ensure adequate first aid provision is in place to maintain workplace safety.

Does a first aider need to be on-site at all times?

A first aider is not necessary to be on-site at all times. But, the company must designate someone to be in charge of first-aid supplies whenever needed.

How Long does a first aid certificate last in the UK?

Typically, the UK’s first aid certificates issued by trustworthy training providers remain valid for three years. However, to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date, individuals must take a refresher course and renew their certification after this period.


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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.