Why should companies/businesses train staff in First Aid?

In any working environment/work place, regardless of the type of company (restaurant, crèche, school, factory, office, construction site etc.) employees can be injured or become ill whilst performing their duties.  Regardless of whether or not the injuries (or illnesses) were caused as a result of the work employees perform, it is the duty of the employer to ensure they receive immediate and appropriate medical attention. This is also applicable to any visitor/guest or client that may be on your premises.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 as amended by the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act No 181 of 1993 states that an employer must take all reasonable steps that are necessary under the circumstances to ensure that employees in the workplace receive prompt first aid treatment in the event of injury or medical emergency. 

The Act further states that when:

  • more than 5 employees are employed at a workplace, the employer must provide a suitable first aid box/kit which is accessible in the workplace for the treatment of the injured
  • more than 10 employees are employed at a workplace, the employer must ensure that for every group of up to 50 employees at that particular workplace there is at least one person readily available during normal working hours who is in possession of a valid first aid certificate issued by an organisation approved by the chief inspector (DOL).

Having First Aiders in the workplace is a legal compliance requirement for all businesses, regardless of the size of the company and this is enforced by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, and regulated by the Department of Labour and their inspectors.

It is proposed that there be a minimum of 2 (fully trained and equipped) First Aiders in each company, building or level (floor), for the minimum guideline ratio of 1:50 employees. However, businesses are encouraged to train as many people as possible in basic first aid Level 1.