Safety Services


Guidance for returning first aiders

First aiders must protect themselves and keep safe before, during and after providing assistance during this period of COVID-19 outbreak.

This guidance applies to first aiders at UCL. It sets out the responsibilities of the first aider and the appointed person (first aid) and the arrangements in place to support them carrying out their duties safely during UCL phased returning to work and beyond. It details the steps first aiders must take to protect themselves and keep safe before, during and after providing assistance during this period of COVID-19 outbreak. It does not cover the process of assessing first aid needs that would be carried out in line with UCL return to work plan. 

Responsibilities of the first aider (FAW and EFAW) 

  • Respond promptly to calls for first aid assistance taking your personal first aid kit with you
  • As far as reasonably practical give assistance for which they are trained to prevent the condition of the casualty from deteriorating and if possible promote recovery
  • Take charge of the casualty until a satisfactory recovery is achieved or until appropriate medical aid has taken over care of the casualty
  • Complete an accident/incident report and log any first aid treatment given using UCL’s "Report an Incident"
  • Ensure first aid boxes are checked periodically and stocked and that the contents are maintained in date
  • Co-operate with UCL's health, safety and COVID-19 arrangements 

Responsibilities of the Appointed Person (First Aid)

  • Ensure first aid boxes are periodically checked and stocked and that the contents are maintained in date
  • Take charge when someone falls ill or is injured and call the emergency services if required
  • An appointed person should not attempt to give first aid for which they have not been trained
  • Ensure their departmental Responsible Persons Register contains their Appointed Person role by informing safetytraining@ucl.ac.uk

Arrangements and guidance

UCL values the voluntary contributions made by first aiders and appointed persons (first aid) to the UCL community in general and more so during a challenging time when everyone must adapt and adopt new ways of working safely. It is important that first aiders understand the expectation of the role and the potential risks especially if their activities bring them into contact with the casualty and possible bodily secretion. Therefore first aiders need to consider their personal situation and to confirm with their manager their agreement to carry out first aid.

Be aware of the risks to yourself and others

  • You need to be aware of the risks of cross contamination when approaching to talk or get close to the ill or injured person to assess their condition or to check their breathing
  • Make sure that you prepare yourself by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol base hand sanitiser before donning a plastic apron, face mask and gloves before approaching the casualty. If they are conscious you may ask them to put on a face mask, offer them a tissue to cover their mouth and nose if they are coughing, then find out how you can help
  • Make sure that you don’t cough or sneeze over a casualty when you are treating them
  • Maintain a two metre distance from the casualty if there is no need to approach closer
  • After attending to a casualty, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water thoroughly or use an alcohol base hand sanitiser. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose
  • If it is minor first aid incident direct the person to the first aid room or a safe space from others.  If you assessed that the person can deal with the injury themselves, provide them with the instructions and any necessary first aid materials such as a plaster for them to self-administer e.g. minor graze or cut

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

  • If the casualty is not breathing and your assessment is for CPR you can use a defibrillator (AED) to increase the person’s chances of survival and does not increase risk of infection. If no first aider or appointed person is available any staff member can use an AED
  • Do not perform rescue breaths on the casualty (mouth-to-mouth) 
  • Do not listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the ill or injured person's mouth. If you are in any doubt about confirming cardiac arrest, the default position is to start chest compressions only until help arrives
  • Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water; alcohol based hand sanitiser after carrying out chest compression only CPR

> List of defibrillator (AED) locations
> The Resusciation Council (UK) - Advice on how to keep yourself safe when providing CPR

Call 999 for Emegency Services or UCL Security on 222 or 020 7679 2222 from a mobile

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 Safety first – look after yourself

  • Wash your hands or use an alcohol hand sanitiser/gel, before and after treating a casualty
  • Do not touch a wound with your bare hand or touch any part of a dressing that will come in contact with a wound
  • Find out where you can get suitable and adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) readily when needed
  • If possible, carry out a trial practice in using the PPE
  • To avoid wasting time or extra moving about the building it is prudent to familiarise yourself with the layout of the building, where to find the first aid kit and, if available, the first aid room where the ill/ injured person can be isolated from other people
  • Familiarise yourself where you can find the hand washing facilities and waste disposal bag/bin for used first aid items
  • Dispose of all waste safely following local areas procedure and get to know about the mechanism for cleaning out the space and/or entire room after first aid treatment

> NHS How to wash your hands

Keep yourself informed and updated

  • Check the stock and maintain the content of the first aid boxes regularly
  • Maintain your competence and, where applicable, maintain your qualifications in first aid
  • Look after yourself with the support available for wellbeing
  • Free online Annual Skills Update from British Red Cross training is available whilst British Red Cross is not running instructor-led first aid training courses - contact Safety Training at safetytraining@ucl.ac.uk
  • The British Red Cross First Aid app features easy to learn skills for a range of first aid situations. This free app has videos, interactive quizzes and simple, step-by-step guides

> British Red Cross First Aid App