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What employers must do to safeguard first responders

Because of the intimate contact they may have with humans, first responders are more prone to catching COVID-19. The provision of first aid should be taken into account in the COVID-19 risk assessment.

Physical separation, physical barriers, alternate working habits, and, as a last resort, the use of personal protection equipment should be used to safeguard the first aider (PPE).

Employers and first responders should follow the precise guidelines for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

What happens if there are no first responders on the job?

Despite the fact that the lockdown is lifting and people are returning to work, attendance in offices and on-site is expected to remain low for some time. Employers must examine how to sustain first aid coverage during these periods of low attendance. First aid arrangements must be maintained at all times, even if they are minimal.

Employers must revisit their first aid needs assessment alongside the COVID risk assessment, as the first aid requirements are likely to alter during the return to work phase. The needs assessment will determine what first aid provision is required, specifically whether the danger in the workplace necessitates the presence of a full-time first aider. In this process, employers should solicit the opinions of first responders.

If the needs assessment determines that a first aider is not required, the employer must select someone to oversee first aid arrangements.

Appointing a first responder

When people are at the workplace, a designated person should be present. The assigned person’s fundamental tasks include looking after the first aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when necessary. Appointed individuals do not require first aid training.


Even if full-time first responders are considered necessary by the needs assessment, the regulations provide for flexibility in situations where first responders are absent due to “temporary and extraordinary” circumstances. In those circumstances, the company must still have a designated representative on site.