How many workers should be trained in first aid?

Having employees trained in first aid is an important consideration for any workplace. First aid training equips staff with the knowledge and skills to provide immediate care in the event of an illness, injury or emergency until professional medical treatment can be accessed. Deciding how many first aiders a workplace needs depends on a range of factors.

Quick answers:

– The number of first aiders needed depends on workplace hazards and risks, number of shifts and employees, workplace layout and accessibility to medical care.

– Legal requirements on first aider numbers vary between countries, states and industries. Most require at least one trained first aider on site at all times.

– Larger workplaces generally need more first aiders to ensure adequate coverage across different areas, shifts and employee numbers.

– First aid training should be proportionate to workplace risks. Higher risk workplaces need more trained first aiders.

– Training too few workers can leave a workplace vulnerable. Training too many uses resources inefficiently.

– A thorough risk assessment considering all factors will determine the ideal number of trained first aiders.

Assessing First Aid Needs

Determining how many first aid trained personnel a workplace requires involves a risk assessment based on the workplace’s specific circumstances. Important factors to consider include:

Workplace Hazards and Risks

The level of risk in a workplace significantly impacts first aid needs. Higher risk environments with dangerous machinery, hazardous substances, or other dangers have greater need for trained first aiders. Additional first aiders allow for better coverage across higher risk areas.

Some examples of higher risk workplace hazards include:

– Heavy machinery and manufacturing equipment
– Electrical work
– Working from heights
– Toxic chemicals and substances
– Extreme temperatures
– Remote or isolated work
– Radiation
– Disease exposure

Workplaces with lower risks generally need fewer trained first aiders. Office environments for example may only need a few to provide coverage.

Number of Employees

The number of employees onsite impacts how many first aiders are needed. Larger workforces require more trained personnel to ensure adequate coverage across all employees.

As a general rule, medium sized workplaces with 50-100 employees will need around 4-6 first aiders. Larger workplaces with over 100 employees need approximately 1 first aider for every 50 workers.

The number and distribution of employees around the workplace should be considered. More first aiders will be needed if the workforce is spread out over a wider area.

Number of Shifts

Workplaces running multiple shifts need additional first aiders to provide coverage across 24 hours. At least one first aider per shift is generally recommended as a minimum. Additional first aiders may be needed depending on the nature of work and distribution of employees.

Without multiple first aiders across shifts, a workplace could be left vulnerable with no trained personnel onsite for periods of time.

Workplace Layout and Accessibility

The layout and accessibility of the workplace impacts first aid provision. Larger sites with employees distributed over multiple buildings or levels require more trained first aiders. This ensures quick access to a first aider and reduces emergency response times.

Conversely, smaller workplaces where employees work in close proximity will need fewer first aiders to provide adequate coverage.

Remote or isolated worksites are higher risk and need sufficient first aiders onsite at all times. Reliance on emergency services is reduced if medical assistance is not readily available.

Proximity to Medical Assistance

Workplaces further from professional medical care need increased first aid capability. This includes remote, rural and offshore worksites where ambulance access is limited. Sufficient first aiders can provide extended care while waiting prolonged periods for paramedics.

Conversely, worksites in urban areas in close proximity to hospitals and medical centers can have fewer trained first aiders onsite. Quick access to emergency services reduces reliance on workplace first aid provision.

However a minimum level of first aid capability should be maintained even with nearby medical access, as immediate assistance is still required in emergencies.

Legal Requirements

Most countries and jurisdictions mandate minimum legal requirements on first aid provision for workplaces. While specific regulations vary, some general requirements are:

– At least one trained first aider must be onsite at all times when employees are present. This accounts for multiple shifts.

– Higher risk workplaces require additional first aiders proportional to the level of risk.

– Sufficient first aiders must be present to provide coverage across all employees and workplace areas.

– Remote sites require a dedicated first aider.

– First aiders must be trained to an approved level with refresher training every 3 years.

– Appropriate first aid kits and facilities must be provided.

– First aid arrangements must be clearly communicated to all employees.

Workplaces should check governing regulations for the legal minimum first aider requirements relevant to them. Sufficient first aid personnel must be available to meet both legal obligations and the workplace’s assessed needs.

Adequate Coverage

Ultimately the number of trained first aiders comes down to having adequate coverage across the workforce and workplace area. Too few first aiders can leave employees vulnerable if medical assistance is not readily accessible.

Some considerations for adequate first aid coverage include:

– All employees have quick access to a first aider if needed. Maximum response times can be set, for example within 3-4 minutes.

– Higher risk areas have dedicated first aider/s assigned.

– Shifts are covered by at least one first aider at all times.

– Lunch breaks and employee absences are factored in.

– First aiders are evenly distributed around site.

– Remote/isolated workers have access to first aiders.

– Coverage allows for first aider illness or leave.

– Sufficient provision is made for foreseeable incidents and demand.

Having multiple first aiders provides redundancy if the primary first aider is unavailable or overloaded. Workplaces should regularly review their first aid arrangements.

First Aid Training

The level of first aid training considered sufficient depends on workplace risks. Training should equip first aiders with the skills to manage likely incidents.

Basic or standard first aid training provides skills to treat common injuries and illnesses using simple techniques. This level is adequate for low risk workplaces.

Higher risk environments require advanced first aid skills to manage complex or life-threatening incidents. Additional training modules can cover:

– Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
– Choking/airway obstruction
– Severe bleeding
– Medical emergencies
– Fractures and trauma
– Remote settings

Refresher training every 3 years ensures skills remain current. Ongoing skills practice is also valuable between formal retraining.

Cost Considerations

The costs of providing and training first aiders does require budgeting and allocation of resources. However first aid is a critical component of workplace safety and legal compliance.

Some options to balance costs include:

– Start with minimum legal requirements then expand provision as reasonably practicable.
– Prioritize high risk areas first before expanding coverage.
– Consider online training to reduce costs where permissible.
– Cross-train interested existing employees.
– Stagger/space out first aider refresher training rather than all at once.
– Collaborate with other local businesses to share training costs.

Saving costs on first aid training should never be at the expense of having sufficient coverage and capabilities. Regular reviews can determine where efficiencies can be made over time.

Key Considerations

When determining the ideal number of trained first aiders for a workplace, the following are key considerations:

Workplace risks – Higher risk means more first aiders needed. Match first aid skills with likely incidents.

Number and distribution of employees – More employees over wider areas requires more first aiders.

Shifts – Have at least one dedicated first aider per shift.

Workplace layout – First aiders should be evenly distributed for quick response times.

Proximity to medical care – Remote sites need more onsite capability. Urban sites can have less.

Legal requirements – Have minimum number to meet regulations as starting point.

Adequate coverage – All employees can access first aider within target response time.

Capabilities – Training matches likely first aid demand.

Costs – Balance cost efficiencies with sufficient coverage.

Conducting a thorough risk assessment considering all factors will provide the ideal number of first aiders for a specific workplace. Having appropriate first aid capabilities ultimately saves lives and improves worker safety. Regular reviews and updates ensure arrangements remain effective over time.

First Aid Provision Examples

The following examples illustrate appropriate first aid provision for different hypothetical workplaces:


– 50 employees over two shifts
– Manual handling risks
– Forklift vehicles in use
– Stacked shelves and loading bay
– Located in urban area 10 minutes from hospital

Recommended provision:

– 4 first aiders in total
– 2 per shift
– Advanced first aid training including spinal injury management
– First aid room located central in warehouse
– Additional major trauma kits located in high risk areas

Construction Site

– 100 workers spread across large site
– 3 storey building under construction
– Heavy machinery, vehicles, hazardous substances
– 45 minute ambulance response time

Recommended provision:

– 1 first aider per 25 workers = 4 minimum
– At least 1 per work area (ground, 1st floor, 2nd floor)
– Advanced first aid training including head/spinal trauma
– Major trauma kits on each floor
– Stretcher and defibrillator available


– 75 desk-based office workers
– Low physical risks
– Located in CBD close to medical clinics

Recommended provision:

– 2 first aiders minimum
– Located on separate office floors
– Basic first aid training
– First aid room with supplies for common injuries
– Mental health first aid and CPR training

Remote Mine Site

– 300 employees across large site
– Hazardous substances, heavy machinery
– Over 2 hours from nearest hospital

Recommended provision:

– 1 first aider per 25 workers = 12 minimum
– Paramedic level training
– Advanced medical capabilities onsite – clinic room, stretcher, oxygen, defibrillator
– Major trauma response plan for serious incidents
– Air ambulance service pre-arranged if required
– Mental health first aid and crisis support


Determining first aid personnel requirements involves balancing costs against the need for adequate emergency response capabilities tailored to the workplace.

While basic compliance with legal minimums is essential, optimal first aid coverage considers all factors specific to the workplace. These include risks, size, location, shifts and medical access.

A thorough risk-based approach ensures the ideal number of workers are trained in suitable first aid capabilities. This provides quick assistance for ill or injured staff, helping to prevent minor incidents becoming major ones.

Regular reviews of arrangements ensure first aid provision remains effective as workplaces evolve over time. With adequate coverage, first aid trained personnel are an invaluable investment in any workplace’s health and safety.

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