First aid certificate expiry
[Updated 30th July 2020]
First aid certificate expiry dates are probably not top of your list of things to think about & since the UK went into lockdown (23rd March if you’ve forgotten), we’ve all had plenty to think about. But businesses have to ensure that they have sufficient cover available while they are open for business. So what do you do if your first aid certificates have expired?
At the end of March, the Health & Safety Executive issued a statement about first aid certificates that expired after the 16th March 2020. Here is their statement in full:
“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware that people holding Offshore Medic (OM), Offshore First Aid (OFA), First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates nearing expiry date, might experience disruption to access to requalification training as a result of events or circumstances generated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“HSE’s current guidance on the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l74.pdf and the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989 https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l123.pdf is that those holding an OM, OFA, FAW or EFAW qualification should undertake retraining before their original certificate expires and HSE strongly recommends that employers, and individuals holding those qualifications should plan for requalification training well in advance of expiry dates.
“If however requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus or by complying with related government advice, it is reasonable and practical to extend the validity of current certificates by up to 3 months. Anyone taking advantage of this extension should be able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.
“This guidance comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020. HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.“
So, the four workplace first aid certificates would be extended by 3 months. The Department for Education then mirrored the HSE & introduced the same extension for Emergency Paediatric First Aid & Paediatric First Aid certificates coming up for renewal on or after 16th March.
And that was it.
It was left that if you had a different certificate, then they would lapse and that was that. The reason being that that the HSE & Department for Education only had a vested interest in the syllabuses of these six first aid certificates.
But what about other certificates?
At the end of May 2020, the HSE updated their website again to give further clarification on the extensions for the four certificates that they had a vested interest in (EFAW, FAW, OFA, OM). They’ve made it clear that:
“To qualify for these extensions, that you must be able to:
- explain why you haven’t been able to requalify,
- demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so.”
They went on to state that;
“The first aid training industry in England is confident that enough courses will now be available for all required requalification training to take place. HSE has therefore agreed a final deadline for requalification for these qualifications of 30 September 2020.”
What this means is that if you have any of the following certificates, that have expired since the 16th March 2020, and that you meet the criteria for certificate extension, your certificate is valid until 30 September 2020.
- Emergency First Aid at Work
- First aid at work
- Off-shore First Aid
- Off-Shore Medic
From the 2nd June 2020, this was mirrored across for paediatric first aid certificates.
Please refer to section 8.6 of “Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak” and section 6.2 of “Early years foundation stage: coronavirus disapplications” for further details.
It seems that despite a number of first aid training providers being back at work, there is a bit of a rush on getting people trained up again due to certificate expiry. So the Department for Education have just this week changed the extension date for paediatric first aid certificates to November 25th (see section 6.2 – link above).
Having checked the HSE’s website, they’re still saying that the extension date for other workplace first aid certificates is still the 30th September. So, whichever certificate you need to renew, you still have a bit of time to do it!
What about other first aid certificates?
We have a great many clients who have outdoor based first aid certificates. These include:
- Forest School First Aid
- Emergency Outdoor First Aid
- Outdoor First Aid
- Forestry Commission compliant Emergency First Aid at Work (“EFAW+F”)
- Forestry Commission compliant First Aid at Work (“FAW+F”)
The HSE’s and Department for Education’s combined extension statement didn’t cover these courses. So an enquiry was made to the HSE for clarification as to whether the extension applied to other courses.
The HSE responded, saying:
“HSE guidance on extension of certificates during the coronavirus outbreak applies to qualifications related to workplace first aid as per the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 and the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989.
“Under the 1981 regulations, employers are required to provide adequate and appropriate first aid for their employees, should they be injured or become ill at work.
“If an employer is satisfied that another training qualification provides their first aider with competencies that meet the requirements of their first aid needs assessment, and that the first aider remains competent, then it would be reasonable to assume an extension of the validity of certification in line with that HSE guidance.”
So, assuming that you meet the extension criteria noted above, if you have a different workplace first aid certificate, it too will be automatically extended until 30th September 2020.