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Are we required to have our staff trained in first aid if we are expecting them to use a first aid kit in the event of an injury?

Q: We are a not-for-profit organisation based in WA who deliver community services to young families. A number of our programs run offsite or at externally managed facilities. We usually take a first aid kit with us when we run these types of activities. Are we required to have our staff trained in first aid if we are expecting them to use the kit in the event of an injury to a member of the public attending our programs? Our programs are aimed at children under 5 and are mainly supervised by parents or guardians of the children.

Please consider that being a not-for-profit, we are required to monitor and rationalise our budgets and may not be able to provide certified training to all staff who are required to interact with the public.

A: This is not a straightforward issue. Your organisation’s obligation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA) is to ensure that your workers have access to adequate first aid facilities for their own health and safety.

In some cases these facilities may be available at the externally managed facilities already. In other cases, you would need to give thought as to how your own staff can be looked after if they are injured while working offsite or remotely.

Separate to that question is the duty owed to members of the public who attend your community services program. At law there is no general obligation to provide first aid to members of the public, but you do have a duty to take reasonable care of others such that they are not injured as a result of negligence on behalf of your staff.

If there is an expectation or direction given by your organisation that your staff will administer first aid to members of the public, then your staff should receive certified first aid training, particularly if the potential recipients of the first aid are minors.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to First aid for current advice.

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