There are a number of abbreviations in frequent use when discussing Occupational First Aid. It is worth noting these for this and any other related articles.
List of Abbreviations
OFA: Occupational First Aid
HSA: Health and Safety Authority
PHECC: Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council
OFAA: Occupational First Aid Assessment Agent
QQI: Quality and Qualifications Ireland
FAR: First Aid Response
RI: Recognised institution
AED: Automated External Defibrillator
The Requirements for OFA
The specific requirements for First Aid are made under the Chapter 2 of Part 7 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007.
Organisations should determine whether they need First Aiders by reviewing the HSA Guidance documents. In addition, employers should conduct a risk assessment considering the nature of the work, the degree of hazard, the level of accidents arising, the size and location of the workplace, the distribution of the employees, shift working, availability of an occupational health service within the workplace and the distance and duration from external medical services etc.
While it may not be a legal requirement, it is without doubt best practice for all workplaces to have a trained First Aider on site.
The HSA provide general guidance (table contained in the following link) on the recommended contents of OFA boxes and kits based on numbers employed.
Quantities indicated in the Table are minimum numbers and can be increased.
There is no requirement to have an AED but is best practice to provide one – the required training is included in the OFA training syllabus.
The HSA ceased the operations of the Occupational First Aid Assessment Agent (OFAAA) on 31st October 2016. This meant that instructors could no longer go to OFAAA for assessment. Since 1st November 2016, the HSA recognises both the QQI OFA Level 5 5N1207 and the PHECC FAR (first aid response) learner standards as meeting the needs of OFA training in workplaces. As and from 1st January 2018, the HSA will only recognise PHECC FAR as meeting the needs of OFA in workplaces. This means that learners who undergo training from 1st January 2018 must complete a FAR full or refresher course.
Current Training Requirements
Until the 31st December 2017* there are two options for training- a QQI OFA 5N1207 training course is run over a minimum of 3 days or 24 hours with a 2 hour assessment/exam OR the PHECC FAR training course is not less than 18 contact hours including assessment but excluding breaks, averaging 6 hours instruction per day. The Refresher Training for the QQI OFA award is 1 day refresher and assessment to be re-certified. For the PHECC FAR award, the refresher course is not less than 12 hours including assessment but excluding breaks, averaging 6 hours instruction per day over 2 days.
Guidance for Employers
The HSA recognises both the QQI OFA and PHECC FAR learner standards up to 31st December 2017. Any learner who completes a QQI OFA full or refresher course up to 31st December 2017 will be recognised by the HSA as an occupational first aider for the full 2 year duration of their certificate. This means that it is in the interest of Employers and OFA’s – existing and new to train or do a refresher under the old QQI system up to the end of this year. After which, there will be inevitably be extra training time required and increased costs.
Changes for OFA instructors: Existing and New
Existing OFA instructors on the OFAAA register prior to 31st October 2016 can continue to deliver QQI OFA learner training during the transition to PHECC FAR up to 31st December 2017. This also applies to those instructors whose certification lapsed since 31st October 2016. To achieve QQI learner certification, they can make arrangements with companies that have a validated QQI OFA programme. Existing instructors if they have not already done so, should become familiar with the PHECC FAR standard and instructor requirements. They should then apply to a PHECC FAR Instructor recognised institution (RI) to become a FAR instructor by recognition of prior learning (RPL). This must be completed by 31st December 2017.
New instructors can no longer go to OFAAA for assessment and certification. Instead they should visit the PHECC website and become familiar with the FAR standard and requirements to become a FAR instructor. They should then apply to a PHECC FAR Instructor recognised institution (RI) to become a FAR instructor.
Queries regarding Occupational First Aid can be forwarded to Ibec – Contact Elaine Bowers Elaine.Bowers@ibec.ie
*Information accurate as of the 5th October, 2017.
Ibec OHS Service
Friday, 13 October 2017