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How Often is First Aid Refresher Training Required

how often is first aid refresher training required

Taking part in a seminar the other week the question came up:  Was there a trained first aider in the room? Looking around, everyone shrugged their shoulders until one man, a burly fellow from York reluctantly admitted, “I had the training. Couple years ago.”

“Then you are our first aider!” The group leader said.

“I guess,” the man replied.

It was nothing to inspire confidence. But, technically, we were covered.

Meeting the requirement for first aid cover sounds simple. Ensure you have enough tools, such as first aid kits, and ensure you have enough people who know first aid. However, if you speak to your first aiders, first hand, you may hear another story.

This is why it is essential to recognise that initial first aid training does not last forever. That knowledge and the ability to apply it over time fade.

Why We Need Refresher Training?

Lack of Confidence in Abilities

According to a survey, the confidence of a first aider to act and assist someone in a real emergency can be lost within 3 months after training. Three months is not long at all. But if you think about it, this makes sense. How many opportunities are first aiders given to build their skillset?

As a first aider, you may think you have that training stored in your back pocket and ready to go. But a sudden injury to a colleague, and you can realise that having a fading memory and applying it in practice are entirely different. Emergencies such as administering CPR or dealing with a serious wound can require immediate action. But they can also be intimidating, once you are put on the spot and the stakes are high.

So, an important question to ask is how confident are your first aiders in their abilities to act in a given emergency?

Forgetting Key Information

We are all aware of how easy it is to get out of practice. Ever find yourself needing to recall a maths calculation that you were taught in school that you haven’t used in years? It’s clear, knowledge fades fast. This is all the more true for something that has only been learned once – such as first aid training.

If you are not practicing, you will forget. Taking refresher courses can help systematically recall and reinforce previously acquired knowledge and skills. This is particularly helpful if you as a first aider have taken an online first aid course.

First Aid Practice Changes

The Coronavirus pandemic made it clear how important it is to stay up-to-date with the latest facts and information. For instance, when the virus began, many had no idea whether it was still okay to administer first aid, when doing so would put yourself at risk of transmission of the virus.

Fortunately, first aid training bodies and the government have come out with clear guidelines on how to handle these situations. It’s essential that your first aiders have this knowledge and are aware of any other changes to how first aid is administered.

Is Refresher Training Legally Required?

There are two types of first aid training that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognises: Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work.

Both of these certificates last for a period of three years.

There is no explicit legal requirement that either type of training be refreshed. However, employers are legally bound to ensuring first aiders remain competent with adequate skills to address the first aid needs of the working environment.

According to some, certified first-aiders should attend refresher training every two years. But the HSE recommends refresher courses are taken at least annually.

Failure to ensure certificates are up-to-date and adequate first aid cover is provided is a breach of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981.

How To Renew First-Aid Certificate?

The renewal process of first aid training is quite simple and straightforward. The certificate can be renewed 90 days before expiry and will become active after the expiration of the old one. However, if the old one has expired, the designated person must attend the entire course again within 28 days after expiry.

Renewing Emergency First Aid at Work

Emergency first aid at work training covers low-risk environments where the risk assessment only indicates the need for emergency responses. If you have training in this course, you will be required to retake the full one-day course before your certificate is renewed.

Renewing First Aid at Work

This is a broad range three-day first aid training course comprising of a variety of skills needed for high-risk workplaces. If you need to renew this certificate, you only have to complete a two-day refresher course instead of the entire three-day course.

Online First Aid Refresher Training Options

Even though online first aid course does not replace competency-based, in-person training, it is still very useful for building awareness in dealing with different medical emergencies in a workplace. To ensure your first-aid providers are still competent to perform their duties, we recommend you take online refresher courses regularly.

Ensure Your First Aiders Know What They Are Doing

While the law only requires you to refresh training once every three years, its clear that this is not enough. After all, what is the likelihood that you can recall information that you were given once over a few days, three years ago!

Refresher training is offered both in person and online. While in person training will give you the benefit of hands on experience, online training also plays an important role.

When completing refresher training online, it will be more cost effective and more convenient, as it can be completed anywhere, anytime. It also covers the same vital information.

The HSE also recommends online first aid training, if you cannot make it to a training test centre. For instance, if it is overbooked or if it were to be closed during another national lockdown.

If you or your staff members need a valid First Aid or First Aid at Work refresher training, you can sign up for our online first aid refresher courses. To learn more about Human Focus’s online health and safety training, click here.

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Joe Vickers
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