What Happens to My First Aid Training During COVID-19?

June 3, 2020
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First aid is an important part of a workplace’s health and safety procedures. Having trained first aiders on site helps to ensure that minor accidents and injuries are dealt with swiftly and effectively, and also ensures that more severe injuries are dealt with promptly before a trained medical professional arrives. In serious cases, first aid can even save a person’s life.

Even if you think that your workplace is relatively safe and low risk, you must still have a trained first aider(s) on your site at all times, as accidents can happen at any time and anywhere. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has meant that first aid training has been interrupted and courses have been unable to take place. If this has happened to you, you may be left questioning how your status as a first aider has been affected. In this article, we will provide you with the answers and explain where you stand with your first aid training.

What Are the Requirements for First Aid?

Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, all workplaces must have a stocked first aid kit, an appointed first aider(s) who has received adequate training, and information and resources for employees highlighting first aid arrangements. 

In order to become a qualified workplace first aider, you need to take practical, face-to-face training with an approved first aid training provider, and be able to show that you can administer first aid. You will then receive a certificate that qualifies you to be a first aider for three years. You must then renew your training within the three years if you are to continue being a qualified first aider. 

You may also wish to take supplementary theoretical training in the area of first aid awareness throughout those three years in order to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends annual refresher training to help top-up your knowledge and make you aware of any changes to first aid procedures.

Group of people receiving face to face training

What Happens if My First Aid Certificate is About to Expire?

If your first aid certificate is about to expire, under usual circumstances you would have to renew your practical training to become a first aider for another three years. However, within the current climate of COVID-19, such face-to-face and practical training is restricted, which may leave you unsure of what to do.

The HSE has stated that if you hold a first aid certificate that expires on or after the 16th March 2020, and you cannot access requalification training because of COVID-19, then you may qualify for an extension.

Who Can Apply For a First Aid Qualification Extension During COVID-19?

The HSE states that the opportunity to quality for an extension applies to the following qualifications:

  • Offshore Medic (OM)
  • Offshore First Aid (OFA)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)

To qualify for this extension, you must be able to explain the reason why you haven’t been able to take your training and demonstrate the steps you’ve taken to access the training, if you are asked to do so.

However, the HSE and the first aid training industry in England are now confident that there are enough courses available for everyone who needs to requalify at this time. Therefore, the HSE has agreed that you must be requalified by 30 September 2020. The deadline date for requalification in Scotland and Wales is still being reviewed by the HSE. Despite this, you should still try to arrange your requalification training at the earliest opportunity.

What if COVID-19 Has Interrupted My First Aid Training?

It may be the case that you were working through your training but due to COVID-19, you didn’t have a chance to complete it. If this is you, then your training can recommence at a later date as long as you meet the two criteria outlined below.

Firstly, you must take a full recap of the training that you received before it was interrupted, before you move onto further training. Secondly, the training awarding body must be confident that you show a full understanding of all aspects of the course content and you fully understand the knowledge and competencies required at the end of the training.

What Happens if my Paediatric First Aid Certificate is about to Expire?

For paediatric first aid courses, you must also renew your training every three years in order to remain a paediatric first aider, which is the same for the first aid at work series of certificates. 

The Department for Education has announced a similar extension process to the HSE for paediatric first aid certificates that are due to expire. They have said that if somebody cannot complete their certificate requalification training for reasons associated directly with coronavirus, or because they are complying with coronavirus government guidance, then their certificate expiry date can be extended by up to three months. This applies to certificates that expire on, or after, 16th March 2020.

Two finger compression for paediatric first aid

Free First Aid Resources

If you are looking to refresh your knowledge of first aid during this time, but you are unable to attend face-to-face training, High Speed Training offers courses in Workplace First Aid and Paediatric First Aid. These are online and give you the opportunity to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.

We also have a range of free resources, articles and quizzes that can help to supplement your knowledge of first aid. These include:

If your first aid qualification has expired, or is due to expire soon, then you may be able to get an extension until you are able to renew it. You can also supplement your knowledge during this time with online training or some free resources. Both of these will help to keep your first aid skills and understanding up to date, ensuring that the people you work with, or care for, remain as safe as possible.

Further Resources: