There are many reasons to learn first aid: to gain an important life skill, give your CV a bit more oomph, or for the feelgood factor of being equipped to help others.

However, in the workplace, it’s not just a lifestyle choice.

First aid is required by law, and that means attending a relevant course.

The good news is that whether you’re the employer, or self-employed, the cost can be tax-deductible.New Paragraph

A recent report from the Health and Safety executive (HSE) reported that 147 people were killed at work between April 2018 and March 2019.

It also found that 581,000 working people sustained an injury while doing their job – statistics which serve as a stark reminder that workplace safety is more important than ever.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 compel you to provide adequate and appropriate first-aid equipment, facilities and people so your employees can be given immediate help if they are injured or taken ill at work.

What is first aid at work?

People at work can suffer injuries or be taken ill.

It doesn’t matter whether the injury or illness is caused by the work they do or not, but it is important to give them immediate attention and call an ambulance in serious cases.

You should make arrangements to ensure this happens; it can save lives, and prevent minor injuries becoming life-threatening.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed.

What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ really depends upon the circumstances in the workplace. This includes whether trained first-aiders are needed, what should be included in a first-aid box, and if a first-aid room is required.

Employers should carry out an assessment of first-aid needs to determine what to provide.

The Regulations do not place a legal duty on employers to make first-aid provision for non-employees, such as the public or children in schools.

However, HSE strongly recommends that non-employees are included in an assessment of first-aid needs and that provision is made for them.

Can I claim a first aid course on expenses for tax purposes?

HMRC doesn’t exactly make it easy to discover what you can and can’t claim for tax-deductible expenses, and when it comes to training, seminars and CPD, there are one or two blurred areas over what you can claim tax relief for.

For example, not all training automatically qualifies for tax relief.

As a general rule, tax relief is allowable for expenses only when the training is wholly for business purposes and, in the case of a first aid course, if it is relevant to (or part of) your job description.

So, by this criteria you can claim a deduction for the cost of first aid training courses if you, as a designated first aid person, are required to undertake first aid training to assist in emergency work situations.

The wholly, exclusively and necessary rule

When it comes to tax legislation in general, costs become allowable when the expense is ‘wholly and exclusively’ for business purposes.

It also has to be completely ‘necessary’ for business operations.

If you’re self employed

You can claim allowable business expenses for training that helps you improve the skills and knowledge you use in your business (for example, refresher courses).

The training courses must be related to your business.

You cannot claim for training courses that help you:

  • start a new business
  • expand into new areas of business, including anything related to your current business

Travel expenditure for training courses

You may also be able to claim tax relief for travel and subsistence when travelling to training courses and also accommodation expenses if you have to stay overnight.

Allowable expenditure includes:

  • public transport
  • parking
  • congestion charges and tolls
  • hotel accommodation if you have to stay overnight
  • subsistence (food and drink)
  • business telephone calls and printing costs

You can’t claim for travel if the training is at your normal place of work.

To sum up, the training course has to be relevant to the work you do.

Training should enhance or reinforce your existing skill set, increase your competency or proficiency, and help you to perform better – all to the advantage of the company.

If the training can be shown to meet most, if not all, of the above criteria then under HMRC rules you can claim tax relief against the cost of the training.

You’ll also be able to claim for any associated costs such as travelling expenses and accommodation.

See BIM42526 for HMRC’s official view on claiming training costs against your company’s profits.


If you’re the director of a limited company, there is some flexibility when it comes to what sort of training qualifies as a claimable expense.

Courses you can take include those aimed at improving your so-called soft skills, such as how to deal with stress, management skills, time management and leadership. And, of course, first aid.

This type of training can benefit the company if it makes you a more effective manager and the company more productive.

Even courses that do not immediately impact the company can qualify as tax-deductible.

Base Green Academy specialises in first aid – first response emergency care courses.

If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.