Event First Aid Legal Requirements
Firstly, it is important that we stress, this is not intended to be legal advice. For your liability relating to providing first aid cover means you seek advice from a lawyer if required.
Event first aid legal requirements are covered by the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.
An Event is a Workplace
Is a Church Hall a Workplace?
An event site is deemed a workplace. An event organiser is an employer. Even if it is just a small church fete, charity fundraiser or massive festival or concert.
Health and Safety (First Aid) regulations 1981
Health and Safety (First Aid) regulations 1981. “All employers must provide ‘adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work”.
The Health and Safety Executive also recommend that event organisers include event attendees too. Not just staff, this includes volunteers too.
These two regulations include the legal requirement to assess and protect workers.
To be very specific, the MHSWR introduced the legal requirement to undertake risk assessments.
If you are an event organiser, you need to be fully aware that of your legal duty of care to attendees at the event that you are organising.
With this requirement is adequately assessing the first aid requirements for your event, a risk assessment.
Forewarned is Forearmed
An event organiser could be prosecuted if found in breach, so be forearmed to understand how they might affect you.
It is also important to understand that if you also use volunteers, they too are still classed as employees. They must be covered in the same manner as paid employees.
Be mindful that your event site is still a workplace. The very moment that you arrive to commence setting up to time that you begin closing-down, you have a legal responsibility. Including that of first aid cover.
Legal responsibilities for event first aid
Organisers of events are legally obliged to assess the first aid requirements during the setting up as well as the actual ‘event’ operating hours.
Whilst there is no actual law that specifically mentions legal requirements for first aid for event attendees. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strongly recommends that members of the public are included in any risk assessment undertaken for first aid requirements. They may prosecute if they find there is a case of negligence by not having adequate first aid cover.
A volunteer with little or no first aid experience may be deemed inadequate.
Safety Advisory Group
Events that are held on publicly owned land such as commons, village greens, parks and playing fields require the event organiser to participate in a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) as part of the event planning process.
These are forums that are co-ordinated by local authorities and often include officials from the emergency services and other relevant or interested parties.
Whilst they don’t have any legal powers or responsibilities, they can guide you in meeting your legal obligations for event first aid.
You cannot delegate responsibility
The event organiser has the overall legal obligation for ensuring public safety. If you are the event organiser, you cannot shirk your responsibility or absolve yourself. You cannot pass the responsibility onto another person.
For example; if a colleague was tasked with organising first aid and chose to use a volunteer as your event first aider. If that volunteer was not adequately qualified despite attending a short first aid course. If that volunteer could not deal with an incident that tragically went wrong – YOU may be held responsible.