Safety Services


First Aid

First aid is the immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury. This page provides information on the provision of first aid at UCL.

 On this page

> First aid provision
> Assessment for first aid provision
> Roles and responsibilities
First aid training
First aid equipment
> Automatic External Defibrillators
> First aid signs

First aid provision

First aid provision in the workplace covers the arrangements that need to be made to manage injuries or illness suffered at work. This could include an injury caused by a work accident or during a sporting event, at a café or any time somebody feels unwell at work even if it is an underlying or chronic condition. 

First aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. The purpose is to ensure that the injured person receives immediate attention when required and that an ambulance is called in serious cases. 

It is also important to remember that UK law and UCL do not prevent staff who are competent from taking action beyond the initial management stage.

Assessment for first aid provision

To calculate the first aid provison required at UCL two assessments are conducted.

  • Baseline assessment: conducted by Safety Services and sets a baseline based on the general needs of each campus. This is set by building occupancy and use
  • Departmental assessment: conducted by the UCL department and reviewed by Safety Services to ensure the right provision is being put in place. This is based on the specific risks and activities that are carried out by the department 

The baseline assessment for each building is based on the occupancy and use of the building. Given the changing requirements within buildings, the baseline assessment is available for departmental managers to check whether the baseline established for their area needs reviewing.

The assessment for first aid provision at UCL is twofold.

  • Baseline: number of first aiders required to provide sufficient cover on campus
  • Specific: required when the risk assessment for the activity indicates that additional first aid provision is required 

The diverse activities undertaken on UCL campuses means that trained personnel are guaranteed to be available to attend an emergency incident within 15 minutes during the core hours of 08:00 and 20:00. This provision is provided by the baseline number of first aiders per building with support from the Security Team.

First Aid provision includes:

  • First aid equipment/kits – provided at a department level
  • Contemplation rooms 
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AED or defibs)
  • Competent people to manage the situation

To ensure an adequate number of suitable people with appropriate training for rendering first aid, UCL follows the HSE four-layer framework for the provision of first aid. 

  • Appointed Person (AP)
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)
  • Additional training

Roles and responsibilities

Appointed Person (First Aid)

Safety Services recommends that every department and group or team that operates in different locations from the majority of their department appoint at least 2 people to be responsible for first aid provision.  

The responsibilities of the Appointed Person (First Aid) are:

  • Check the first aid box regularly to ensure that it is stocked and that the contents are maintained in date
  • Maintain a current list of the First Aiders for their building
  • Take charge when somebody falls ill or is injured and call the emergency services if required
  • Complete an accident/incident report and log any first aid treatment given
  • Ensure their departmental Responsible Persons Register contains their Appointed Person role by informing safetytraining@ucl.ac.uk

When there is no Appointed Person these responsibilities must be covered by a first aider.

Appointed Persons are not first aiders and should not attempt to give first aid for which they have not been trained.

First Aider and Emergency First Aider

First aiders are trained and competent people who can deal with a range of injuries or incidents of ill health.

The responsibilities of the First Aider are:

  • Providing an initial assessment of the situation
  • Providing assistance if they are able to
  • Calling for medical assistance when they assess it is necessary
  • Covering the Appointed Person (First Aid) role if one is not assigned

Some activities may require additional training, for example, dealing with exposure to some chemicals. This must be assessed in the activity's risk assessment and managed by the department. 

First aid training

UCL will provide the baseline number of suitably trained first aiders throughout the campus. To undertake first aid training, first aiders must make an application to Safety Services.

There are two levels of first aid training:

  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)

The guidance for applying for training explains when each type of training is appropriate.

> Information about first aid cover during Covid-19

Staff who have the First Aid at Work certificate but are located in an area or move to an area which is now assessed as not requiring a first aider with this certificate, will continue to be given refresher training to maintain that competence should they wish. 

Apply for first aid training

First aid equipment

First aid boxes

First aid boxes should be located in areas that are not locked so that anyone in the building can have access to it at all times, for example kitchens or reception areas.

The contents of first aid boxes should be checked periodically. Many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. You should replace expired items, disposing of them safely. If a sterile item doesn’t have an expiry date, check with the manufacturer to find out how long it can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, you should check that they are still fit for purpose.

A contents checklist can be kept in the box or displayed on the wall beside the box.

> Download the first aid box checklist

Minimum contents of a first aid box

  • Guidance leaflet on first aid (e.g. HSE leaflet "Basic advice on first aid at work")
  • List of contents and the name, location and telephone number of the first aiders and/or appointed persons
  • 20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of work (you can provide hypoallergenic plasters, if necessary)
  • 2 sterile eye pads
  • 4 individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
  • 6 safety pins
  • 2 large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
  • 6 medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
  • A pair of disposable gloves (see HSE leaflet: Latex Allergies)

Due to recent developments UCL also recommends that first aid kits are stocked with 3 mouth shields for CPR.

Do not keep tablets and medicines in the first aid box.

Fieldwork first aid box

  • Sufficient supplies for the number of participants involved in the fieldwork
  • Items necessary for the treatment of injuries specific to the location, particularly if it is remote
  • It may also be appropriate to carry medicines for emergency use
  • Information relating to pre-existing conditions that participants may have

Emergency medical kit

Where the standard of health care in the country to be visited is in doubt, sufficient Sterile Medical Packs containing needles, sutures and syringes, for use by medical professionals, should be carried in the first aid kit. Advice can be obtained from UCL Workplace Health.

Automatic External Defibrillators

Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) are located throughout the Bloomsbury Campus. These are purchased and managed by UCL Estates.

> See more information about AEDs including a map showing locations of AEDs

AED training

The Health and Safety Executive has stipulated that all first aid training providers should include AED training on first aid at work courses. This means that:

  • New first aiders will be trained in how to use an AED
  • Existing first aiders do not have to re-train - they will update their skills when they requalify

This does not mean that departments must provide AEDs. Provision will continue to be based on their needs assessment. Examples of risk based provision include:

  • Where research participants are selected because they have a history or a vulnerability to heart attack
  • The workplace is some distance from an A&E department

First aid signs

Departments are responsible for posting signs on doors indicating where first aid boxes are located.

> Further information on health and safety signs

List of first aiders

Safety Services will issue the current list of first aiders for each building. Departments will be asked to display these in due course. In the majority of buildings this will be in first aid sign holders beside the fire action notices.

Last updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2020