Are we legally required to have a first aid officer within an office environment?
In addition to the general duty for a PCBU to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and others at the workplace, the WHS Act and Regulation places specific obligations on PCBUs to:
- provide first aid equipment and make sure each worker has access to equipment;
- ensure access to facilities to administer first aid;
- ensure an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of people who are trained in first aid; and
- ensure workers are aware of information and know how to carry out first aid.
Codes of practice provide practical guidance on how a duty-holder may discharge their obligations under the Act and the Regulation. While not mandatory, codes of practice can be used in proceedings regarding what is known about a risk and risk controls in determining the reasonably practicable steps that a duty-holder could have taken to discharge their duty of care. Should a duty-holder not follow an approved code of practice, they must be able to demonstrate that compliance with the Act and Regulation has been achieved by means of a method that provides equivalent of higher standard of control than the code.
The NSW approved Code of Practice, First Aid in the Workplace, outlines the number of first-aiders that low-risk, high-risk and remote high-risk workplaces should have. This includes one first-aider for every 50 workers in low-risk workplaces, such as an office, and one first-aider for every 25 workers in high-risk workplaces.