Have You Documented The Main Responsibilities of The Appointed Person?

person holding a first aid kit who might be the appointed person

You have conducted your first aid needs assessment and have determined that a first aider is not required, however, as a minimum someone needs to be appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements.  If you have taken this decision what do you need to consider as part of your arrangements?  

First response

Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, employers must ensure that there are sufficient personnel to manage injuries and medical incidents that may occur.  In some circumstances you might decide that an appointed person (AP) will be on duty, i.e. someone without formal training but with the knowledge to manage a medical emergency. Documenting the main responsibilities of the appointed person and providing this to the person taking on this role is a good way of demonstrating compliance with this minimum requirement as detailed in the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.

When might this apply?

You may determine that an appointed person is needed because your business only presents a low risk, e.g. an office environment with fewer than 25 employees and is close to an accident and emergency department. Alternatively, your site may carry a higher risk of injury but has fewer than five employees. Another scenario would be that you have one or more trained first aiders, but you are appointing an appointed person to cover unforeseen absences.

Small wounds

It would therefore be advisable to include in this role document a brief description of why an appointed person has been appointed, and what they should do in relation to someone who has a “minor injury”.   Since the appointed person is not required to be trained in first aid, the advice is that the injured party should be given the first aid kit for them to self-administer. The appointed person should also decide if further medical help is needed, taking a precautionary approach.


In the event of a medical emergency there are further instructions that should be detailed for the appointed person to carry out.  The following is a guide as what could be included:

  • Take control of the situation by identifying any ongoing dangers;
  • Check if the casualty is responsive;
  • Identify whether an ambulance is required, and when deemed necessary call the emergency services;
  • Where possible send someone to await the arrival of the emergency services;
  • NOT give any food or drink to the injured/ sick individual;

Assuming that the appointed person is not trained in first aid, as a general rule they should not administer any first aid treatment unless told to do so by the emergency services operator. However, in life or death situations the appointed person will need to exercise their own judgement and the company should be willing to support them in doing so.

Extra duties

Depending on the division of responsibilities, you may wish to ask the appointed person to look after first aid equipment, if this is the case it should be included in the role description covering routine checks of signage and first aid kits.   The role document should also include details of the required knowledge for the role. This includes calling the emergency services, the routes the emergency crews will take on entering the site, and the location(s) of the first aid equipment and facilities, including the accident book.  They do not require any formal training as would be the requirement for a first aider.

Final thoughts

If you decide to have an appointed person because your first aid needs assessment determines there is no need for a trained first aider, or to cover unforeseen absences of your first aider, it is important that the appointed person understands their role and its limitations.  You might find it useful once the role document is created that there is a sign-off section demonstrating acceptance of the role.  If you are struggling with knowing the difference between an emergency first aid at work first aider and a first aider, then have a look here at a blog we wrote covering this area.

If you would like any further help and advice on first aid or any other matter relating to health and safety in the workplace then do get in touch.  Don’t forget we offer a free 15 minute consultation with no obligation.

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