Most first aid certificates last between 3 years, some for just one year. In between, your knowledge and possible ability to respond naturally fades. If we deal with very few incidents in the workplace, this lack of practice can lead to a poor response to an incident.
There is no legal obligation to provide first aiders with formal training during the intervening periods. However, HSE guidance states that employers are encouraged to allow first aiders time for ‘self-directed revision’ to maintain their first aid skills. In reality, this may not always be practical.
One of the things we stress in our courses is confidence as well as competence. If you’re having trouble remembering what to do, reassuring your casualty is made all that harder.
Regular self-directed or team refreshers in between first aid courses will help you retain your competence as well as your confidence.
Here are our 6 top tips in helping you retain your first aid knowledge.
Practice makes permanent
Most techniques we demonstrate in our first aid courses have a relevant How to Video on YouTube.
You can search for a particular topic to refresh your skills. But these are practical demonstrations, try and replicate them in a work session or at home. Pay attention to the words used as well as the practical techniques.
Using ‘What ifs’ to refresh and plan your first aid response.
In some workplaces, there is a need to stress the importance of leadership in addressing organisational safety. Everyone is responsible for health and safety at work but corporate governance of safety is a legal requirement. The influence of managerial leadership on workplace safety climate is profound in good and bad ways. A safe workplace that takes the safety of its staff and customers is much happier!
You could have a regular first aid or emergency response item on your standard monthly meeting agenda. If something had happened in the past month, you’d discuss it, chat through your response and share the experience with the wider team. If nothing has happened, then randomly pick a first aid incident and a location and discuss how you would respond.
In this way, when something happens, you are, as a team, much better prepared and confident in your response to that incident.
First Aid posters in the workplace.
Most workplaces have a health & safety notice board or just a staff notice board.
You can see our First Aid Incident Response poster from our website here. That’s the poster with ABCDE essentials on it, a great quick reference and refresher tool for emergency situations.
You could also print off pages from the manual, post them on the board and change them regularly to keep people engaged and informed.
Read more and learn more about first aid in just a few minutes
If you’re reading this, you’re already using the blog facility on our website. We have blogs on lots of different topics. These delve into the topics in more detail giving you a better understanding of the topic, its causes and of course the appropriate first aid. Many of them have links to other resources and sites relevant to the topic. They also cover legal responsibilities and any changes to first aid that come into force.
Blogs are a great resource and most are only a 3 or 4-minute read and a great way to keep up to date and refreshed.
What should you have in your first aid kit?
What is really in your first aid kit? Do you know?
It is always advised that you have a first aid kit ‘monitor’ who checks the first aid kits regularly and replaces out of date or missing items.
Do you regularly check your own kit at work, in your car and at home? Do you know what’s in there? There are a lot of pockets and sections in some kits and knowing where everything is will help in an emergency. Some larger kits are set out in ABC arrangement with Airway / Breathing face shields than Circulation kit such as bandages. Having a logical layout inside a first aid kit helps everyone in time of need. It’s also good to read the instructions where the product has them.
Spend some time getting up close and personal with your first aid kit before you need to use it!
And what should be in all those kits? Read more in our blog here.
Use a short first aid course as a refresher or skills developer
Online, refresher courses are very useful as a refresher tool but there are also some courses available that look into some topics in more detail.
Our Annual Update for First Aid online course covers the important incident response procedure, the ABCs, Recovery Position, CPR and defibrillator use.
You could also consider doing a one-day Emergency First Aid at Work course with your team or join a public course yourself. We can also run courses with an additional one hour of specific content for sectors including Forestry, Paediatric, Outdoors and Equestrian.