Do First Aiders need to have Ofqual accredited qualifications?

It’s been a while since I put finger to keypad so here goes.

I wanted to do another piece about First Aid because there have been some significant changes to the way that First Aid training companies are regulated.

Löfstedt

In March 2011, the Government set up an independent review to make proposals for simplifying health and safety law. This review was chaired by leading risk management specialist Professor Ragnar Löfstedt.
Professor Löfstedt’s report ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all: an independent review of health and safety regulation’ was published on 28 November 2011.
Professor Löfstedt’s report set out a number of recommendations, one of which was that:
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 should be amended to remove the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel.
This requirement seems to have little justification provided the training meets a certain standard.

History

To go back a little, if you are a business owner or indeed a First Aider and are reading this then prior to 01 Oct 13 if you approached a company for First Aid training then the only way that company could issue you or your staff with a current HSE 3 Day First Aid Certificate an HSE 2 Day Re-Qualification Certificate or a HSE 1 Day Emergency First Aid At Work Certificate was to be an HSE registered First Aid Training Provider. If they were not directly registered by the HSE then the Certificate had to be produced by an HSE registered body.

SPP Solutions Ltd HSE Registration

SPP Solutions Ltd were HSE registered and we could produce our certification and were regularly inspected by the HSE to ensure we provided a quality service in line with ‘First Aid at Work The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981’. Something which all companies should be working to with regards to First Aid provision in the workplace.
If SPP Solutions hadn’t been HSE registered then we would have had to be aligned to an HSE registered body in order to be able to conduct training with the certificate being generated by the overarching (HSE Registered) organisation.

Still with me?

What Löfstedt said is that the HSE should no longer control the regulation of First Aid Training Companies and as of the 01st Oct 13 that is exactly what happened.
Following this there were lots of organisations jockeying for position to take over the regulation.

Ofqual

One of the options was to send First Aid down the “Ofqual” route. We are already aligned to Ofqual Awarding Bodies and I can say that this would have made the First Aid qualification system no better at all. Indeed if you want an Ofqual recognised First Aid Qualification then you can now get one.

Another option was for an independent body to take on the task of regulation and run it in a similar fashion to the HSE.

So now what do I do?

From your point of view -as people looking for qualifications and training- this has little effect other than in light of the de-regulation so to speak you have to be sure that the training organisation offering to train and qualify your First Aiders have the relevant experience in the First Aid sector.

First_Aid_Image

Our take on the current situation

What we as a company intend to do moving forward is to carry on providing training to the same high standard as we did when the HSE held the reins. Under HSE control the assessment of First Aid had to be done independently by an external assessor. SPP are keeping this system.

Written examination?

We are NOT introducing a written examination unlike the Ofqual qualification. We strongly believe that First Aid is a hands-on skill and therefore First Aid should be assessed practically. Written exams put people under undue pressure and only test knowledge retention at the very time of taking the assessment.

So, do my First Aiders need to have Ofqual accredited qualifications?

Absolutely not.

Your First Aiders need to be trained by an organisation with the relevant skills and experience to meet the course criteria within Health and Safety (First Aid) Regs 1981. If you have a training provider who has served you well then carry on using them. If you want an Ofqual qualification then talk to your current provider as there is a very distinct possibility that they (like us) will be able to deliver an Ofqual qualification. If you are sourcing a new First Aid training provider then be careful and make sure they have the relevant experience. Ask for references; for example we have over 1200 pieces of independently verified and published client feedback.

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