Guidance on First Aid Cover During the Current Pandemic
The Health and Safety Executive, (HSE) has issued fresh advice on first aid cover during the coronavirus outbreak.
New guidance published last week includes sharing first aid cover with other businesses and extending first aid certifications.
The HSE stated ‘If first aid cover for your business is reduced because of coronavirus or you can’t get the first aid training you need, there are some things you can do so that you still comply with the law.’
It suggests sharing the first aiders of another business, but reminds duty holders to be sure that they have the knowledge, experience and availability to cover the first aid needs of their business. It also warns whoever provides the temporary cover to ensure they do not adversely affect their own first aid cover.
The regulator is also offering first aid certificate extensions to those who hold a first aid certificate that expired on or after 16 March 2020 and cannot access requalification training because of coronavirus. It applies to Offshore Medic, Offshore First Aid, First Aid at Work and the Emergency First Aid at Work certificates.
RIDDOR Reporting of COVID-19
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) requires a report making to the HSE when:
an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Examples of what to report:
If something happens at work which results in (or could result in) the release or escape of coronavirus you must report this as a dangerous occurrence. An example of a dangerous occurrence would be a lab worker accidentally smashing a glass vial containing coronavirus, leading to people being exposed.
Cases of disease: exposure to a biological agent
If there is reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was likely exposed because of their work you must report this as an exposure to a biological agent using the case of disease report. An example of a work-related exposure to coronavirus would be a health care professional who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after treating patients with COVID-19.
Work related fatalities
If a worker dies as a result of exposure to coronavirus from their work and this is confirmed as the likely cause of death by a registered medical practitioner, then you must report this as a death due to exposure to a biological agent using the ‘case of disease’ report form. You must report workplace fatalities to HSE by the quickest practicable means without delay and send a report of that fatality within 10 days of the incident.
HSE Spot Checks to Resume Immediately
The HSE has announced it is restarting ‘proactive’ inspections, as much of the country gets back to work after the lockdown was eased. Workplace inspections were temporarily stopped after the lockdown announcement in March.
As reported in the previous bulletin, more than 4,500 complaints were made to the HSE between the 9th March and the 3rd May. The Regulator confirmed that it has responded to around 5000 workplace concerns and is inspecting some workplaces in response.
An additional £14m has been made available by the Government to the HSE for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment during the easing of the lockdown.