As comprehensive as your first aid training may be, after a few years you’ll need to do a refresher course.

This may well be because (hopefully) you’ve had so few cases of illness and accidents to deal with that you’ve forgotten some of the techniques but it may also be because there may be newer better ways of dealing with illness or accidents.
The recommendation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is that first aiders should do a training course every three years.

If you have undertaken, and passed, a first aid at work training course or an emergency first aid at work training course, you will have received a certificate that is valid for three years from the date of issue. Three day first aid at work certificates can be renewed by taking a two day refresher course, as long as the renewal course is undertaken within 28 days of the certificate expiry date.

Specialist paediatric first aid at work certificates are also valid for three years, however AED defibrillator awareness training certificates are only valid for one year.

What is first aid training?

First aid training is learning the basic skills and techniques that can help someone in an emergency, whether they have had an accident or fallen ill. The main aims are:

  • To preserve life.
  • To prevent the escalation of the illness or injury.
  • To promote recovery.
  • Give pain relief.
  • Protect the unconscious.

The most popular courses available are the First Aid at Work (FAW) course and Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW).

Why do first aid certificates expire?

The chances are you won’t be using all the skills you learn on your first aid course over the next three years so without regular practice you are likely to forget some of what you’ve been taught.

There is a name for this – skills fade – and it can lead to confusion and critical delays to emergency treatment.

Why do I need to do my first aid training again?

  1. Refreshing your skills – Simply to keep your skills up to scratch and so familiar that you won’t have to hesitate before you swing into action.
  2. Learning something new – It’s also a good idea to keep up to date with the latest practices and procedures. After three years there are likely to be innovations in treatments and equipment.
  3. Keeping it legal – Once your first aid certificate expires, your employer may no longer be meeting their statutory obligations under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and could face the risk of prosecution.

It’s also absolutely essential for those who work with children as a registered child minders or registered playgroup workers to renew their paediatric first aid qualifications in order to retain their registration. Letting first aid training lapse will automatically result in loss of registration status and all the rights and benefits that come with it.

How to renew a first aid training certificate

A first aid training certificate can be renewed any time from 90 days before expiry, with the new certificate still starting from the expiry date.

Emergency first aid at work training must be retaken in full, with the complete one day course, however the longer three day first aid at work training can be refreshed with a two day requalification course, as long as this is undertaken before expiry or within 28 days of the certificate expiring.

You cannot attend a two day first aid at work requalification course more than 28 days after your certificate expires. Once this time has elapsed, the full three day course must be completed in order to re-qualify.

The two hour AED training certificate is valid for one year and the course must be refreshed in full to achieve recertification.

First aid training refresher courses

While the renewal of first aid certificates is mandatory after three years, the HSE also strongly recommends candidates attend an annual first aid refresher course.

There is always the possibility that after only a year you’ll become rusty on the fundamentals of first aid such as dealing with someone who is in shock, unconscious, or bleeding. Plus it is vital that a first aider is always able to act promptly and without hesitation. First aid refresher courses are therefore a good idea as they remind candidates of the key skills they need to brush up on.

Basegreen Academy offers a wide range of accredited courses including those required by law to provide first aid in the workplace.