These health and safety guidelines provide basic information on how duty holders can assess the provision of adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure employees receive proper attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. Its sets out the key issues to take into account when conducting a first aid needs assessment. It does not prescribe specific equipment or facilities. In addition it does not specify any particular additional or advanced first aid training requirements where this may be relevant (although further information on training based on HSE guidelines is set out in Appendix I). Both these matters are for duty holders to determine via the risk assessment process. However the guidance does set out an overview of how these decisions might be taken into account.
The rapid growth of the renewable energy sector (wind, wave & tidal) is expected to lead to a significant change in the industrial and employment landscape across the UK. We expect to see a significant increase in the numbers of technicians, engineers, project crew and others working in the renewable energy sector. When coupled with a substantial increase in operating capacity we may expect to see an increased potential for incidents and injuries to arise which could require a first aid response. We also expect to see employees based offshore for prolonged periods which will increase the importance of being able to respond to foreseeable medical conditions and cases of ill-health.
It is the responsibility of every organisation to put in place measures that prevent and reduce the risk of injury and harm to employees and others. However proper planning must also consider when things could go wrong, which should include the provision of adequate and appropriate first aid. While most of the issues are relatively straight forward and can be managed by reference to existing first aid guidance (e.g. HSE guidance ), renewable energy projects can present some additional challenges. These include:
- Remotely located sites, impact of poor communications and distance from emergency services;
- Extreme weather conditions (e.g. wind, snow, ice, fog, etc.) and potential risk of hypothermia and other thermal health risks (e.g. heat stress);
- Extreme met-ocean conditions (wave, tidal etc) increasing the risk of potential incidents and impacting on first aid and emergency response;
- Difficult to access and restricted working positions (work at height, confined spaces etc.) such as in the nacelle; and
- Complex and difficult injuries (e.g. suspension syncope, electric shock, major trauma, hypothermia, heat stress etc.) where speed of response and access to apply first aid can be difficult.
Scope of this Document
This guide provides information on the issues to consider when conducting a suitable and sufficient first aid risk assessment as required by the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981. This guide primarily applies to first aid at work risk assessments performed for onshore and near offshore work within the UK. Although consideration is given to the potential risks in relation to projects further offshore.
The guidance does not address the first aid requirements covered by applicable marine legislation or first aid for offshore installations applicable to the Oil & Gas sector, although a summary of their scope and application is included for reference.
This document sets out:
- A general description of first aid including its role and function;
- A summary of the legal context and statutory duties;
- An outline of a recommended first aid needs assessment approach;
- Specific first aid risk factors to consider in the context of renewable energy projects; and
- Additional mitigation measures to prevent and manage first aid scenarios.