Section 7 - First Aid

Some Key Questions

Why do I need First Aid

How do you identify potential injuries and illnesses

The requirements of first aid personnel in the workplace

The requirements of first aid rooms in the workplace

The requirements of first aid kits

What is a first aid plan

How do you know a first aid plan is working

What is the response following an accident requiring first aid.

First aid

First aid is the immediate treatment given to the victim of an accident, sudden illness or other medical emergency.

The person on the scene who has the best knowledge of first aid should administer the treatment and it should be continued until professional medical help is available.

First aid involves reassuring the victim, relieving the pain and moving the victim, if necessary, to a hospital or clinic.

To ensure adequate first aid provisions, employees must identify their potential problems, assess their requirements and consult with employers.

Identifying potential problems can be determined by:

  1. reviewing accidents
  2. consulting with employees
  3. reviewing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  4. locating external safety information relevant to the business
  5. reviewing hazard surveys.

What are the requirements for first aid personnel in the workplace?

The number of trained first aiders needed  in  a given workplace  is linked  to the                                                                 
number of employees.

If there are more than 25 people employed at a workplace at least one person trained in first aid is required to be on site.
A trained first aid personnel means either:

    1. A person who holds a current first aid certificate issued after successful completion of a WorkCover-approved first aid course.
    2. A person who holds a current occupational first aid certificate issued after successful completion of a WorkCover-approved occupational first aid course.
    3. A registered nurse.
    4. A level three or greater New South Wales ambulance officer.
    5. A medical practitioner.

Where employees work across separate work areas, the first aid facilities provided may need to be located centrally, with the provision of portable first aid kits in each work area.
What are the requirements for first aid rooms in the workplace?
A first aid room must be provided and maintained at any construction site at which more than 100 persons work or at any other workplace at which more than 200 persons work.

A first aid room should be set up as follows:

  1. Location. The room must be readily accessible, situated close to toilets, have hot and cold running water and motor vehicle access.
  2. Workspace. The room should be large enough to administer first aid and allow access for injured persons.
  3. Work environment. The room should be able to be easily cleaned, well-lit and ventilated. It should have suitable heating and cooling.
  4. Signs. The room should be clearly identified with recognisable first aid signs with all relevant information on first aid clearly shown.

What are the requirements for first aid kits?

It is essential that properly stocked and maintained first aid kits are conveniently located in each workplace. The following factors should be considered in relation to the provision of first aid kits:

  1. Contents. This will depend on your workplace hazards and the likely injuries or illnesses that could occur. There is a list which represents minimum requirements, but additional contents may be needed depending upon the hazards.
  2. Location of kits. First aid kits should be located close to areas where there is a likely risk of injury/illness occurring, persons working in remote areas, or areas where access for emergency services is limited.
  • Number of kits. At least one kit must be provided for each workplace. Workplace assessment will determine if more kits are required.
  • Signs. The first aid kit should be clearly identifiable, with  a white cross on  a green background prominently displayed on the outside.
  • Information. A list of contents should be provided with the kit, together with names and locations of trained first aiders and relevant telephone numbers, including 000.
  • Management. A trained first aid officer who is responsible for the contents and availability of the kit should manage the first aid kit.

What is a first aid plan?
Management responsible for a workplace should ensure that it develops and continually updates an effective first aid plan for its employees. A first aid plan should state:

  • Number of first aiders needed to cover all areas and shifts including names and contact details.
  • Specific training requirements for first aiders.
  • Response procedures.
  • First aid facilities requirements and management.
  • First aid recording and reporting system. In accordance with section 63 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation  Act 1998, an injury register must be maintained.
  • Important contact numbers, e.g. 000, Poisons Information Centre, local hospitals and clinics.

Who needs to know about first aid plans?

Trained first aiders need:

  • written procedures to ensure they understand their specific first aid responsibilities, and area/time of coverage
  • regular first aid in services to update knowledge.  

Employees must understand:

  • who to approach for first aid assistance.
  • the role they have in the first aid plan, e.g. reporting accidents
  • where to go for assistance.


This information may be communicated using a combination of:

  • posters of signs in the workplace
  • information sessions or team meetings
  • newsletters, emails or memos
  • induction training.

Managers and supervisors: must be familiar with first aid arrangements, and must understand their accountability under the first aid plan. They will also play an important part in making sure first aid information is provided to all employees.