Who pays for first aid at your business?

By Michael Selinger on March 9th, 2017

First aid training

Can an organisation ask its first aid officers to pay for their own first aid training? And is it compulsory for first aid officers to complete annual CPR training in Australia?

Employers have a duty to ensure that the organisation has trained first aid officers. This usually means, as a practical matter, that the employer has to pay for the training as they usually request volunteers to be first aid officers.

The legal requirement for the employer to pay for first aid training is not covered by the safety legislation but rather will depend on any applicable modern award, enterprise agreement or contractual provision related to first aid compensation.

For instance, some modern awards and enterprise agreements specifically provide for a first aid allowance, which may include a requirement for employers to remunerate certain employees for first aid training.

Paid time

But if an organisation directs its employees to attend a first aid course, this will be deemed as paid time. This is because the employee’s role will be for the benefit of the organisation, which is not within the scope of the employee’s usual work routine.

How often CPR training needs to be updated will often depend on the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that an employee has received their training from and its individual requirements.

In saying this, most RTOs’ CPR component is valid for one year, which will need to be updated annually for a first aid officer to keep their certification current. As employers need to ensure that the qualifications of first aid officers are current, it is good practice to remind and encourage such employees to complete their annual CPR refresher training.

Some jurisdictions, such as SafeWork SA, have recommended that CPR training should be completed yearly by adopting the national Safe Work Australia Code of Practice ‘First Aid in the Workplace: Code of Practice’, which may be accessed at the health and safety regulator website in your jurisdiction.

The Portner Press Health & Safety Handbook’s chapter on First Aid has much more information about first aid in the workplace, including:

  • what is the role of first aider;
  • requirements of first aid kits and their location; and
  • whether you need to provide a first aid room.

Plus downloadable and editable step-by-step instructions and checklists on:

  • determining the first aid requirements of your workplace;
  • what to include in a first aid room; and a
  • first aid risk assessment template.

As you can see, providing first aid to your workforce is a not as simple as it might seem.

To help you prepare for any incidents at your workplace while meeting your health and safety legal requirements, get your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook and take advantage of the expert advice contained within its 70-plus chapters.

Order your copy today on an obligation-free trial.

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