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First aid in the workplace

Providing immediate and effective first aid to workers or others who have been injured or become ill at work may reduce the severity of the injury or illness and promote recovery. In some instances this could mean the difference between life and death. Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) are responsible for providing, as far as is reasonably practicable, a safe working environment and adequate facilities for the welfare of their workers.

What do I need to consider?

The risk can be considered low or high depending on the workplace. A low risk workplace is one where workers are not exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness. Examples of low risk workplaces include offices, shops or libraries. Potential work-related injuries and illnesses requiring first aid would be minor in nature.

A high-risk workplace refers to a workplace where workers are exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness and would require first aid, for example factories or motor vehicle workshops.

Summary

The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 place specific obligations on PCBUs to:

  • Provide first aid equipment and make sure each worker has access to equipment.
  • Ensure access to facilities to administer first aid.
  • Ensure an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of people who are trained in first aid.
  • Ensure workers are aware of information and know how to carry out first aid.

The Code of Practice on First Aid in the Workplace outlines how many first aiders different sorts of workplaces should have:

  • Low risk workplaces—one first aider for every 50 workers.
  • High risk workplaces—one first aider for every 25 workers.

Resources

Information source Contents
Code of Practice—How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks This code provides practical guidance for those who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety.
Safe Work Australia—Model Code of Practice - First Aid in the Workplace This code provides practical guidance for those under the WHS Act and Regulations to provide adequate first aid facilities in the workplace. Please note this is guidance only and not a legislative instrument.
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 The WHS Regulations set out more detailed requirements to support the duties in the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act.
Page last updated: 02 Apr 2014