What exactly is an appointed person? Do I need to have one as part of my workforce?
You might be asking these questions like many other employers. You could be wondering if it’s necessary to have an appointed person on duty.
To cut to the chase, an appointed person is someone in-charge of meeting the basic first aid arrangements in the workplace.
They are also responsible for calling emergency services and taking control of the situation.
What Is an Appointed Person?
An appointed person is a part of the workforce in a company. They are mainly in charge of ensuring that the company meets basic first aid arrangements.
During accidents or unforeseen circumstances, the appointed person takes control of the scene and calls for emergency services to respond. They are also responsible for doing paperwork and keeping records on these matters.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your staff. Part of this obligation is meeting your company’s basic first aid requirements. You need to conduct risk assessments to know what your company needs to comply with.
In cases where assessments show that first aiders are unnecessary, employers instruct an appointed person. However, appointed persons are not fully trained first aiders. They should not directly take care of the casualties unless they are certified to handle the situation.
Does an Appointed Person Need to Be First Aid Trained?
First aid assessments can determine if you need an appointed person, a first aider, or if it’s necessary to have both to be part of your staff.
An appointed person doesn’t need to be a trained first aider, but first aiders can be assigned as appointed persons in the workplace.
What Is the Difference Between a First Aider and an Appointed Person?
To set things clear, let’s know the difference between these two roles.
First aiders are certified to render emergency services, and they are trained to take care of casualties who need immediate medical care.
On the other hand, an appointed person does not have a certificate to directly approach an ill or injured person.
An appointed person is not tasked to do first aid. But their role is concerned with meeting basic first aid arrangements for a company.
They’re assigned to call for help, assure the patient, and make reports about the emergency.
Their job description does not include providing first aid care to casualties on-site. Hence, they are not required to be fully trained to provide first aid cover.
But if the appointed person has in-date certifications in first aid, they can be an appointed person and first aider at the same time.
Are There Cases Where an Appointed Person Provides First Aid?
In some instances, a first aid appointed person can perform first aid treatment.
But this is only applicable if they have the essential skills to handle the situation, and if a first aider is not available on-site.
Mostly, these situations only involve minor concerns. However, this is not applicable if the company’s first aider is on annual leave.
If your company’s first aider cannot come to work, it is your responsibility to look for someone qualified to fill the role.
An appointed person without first aid qualifications cannot take over the role of a first aider who filed for annual leave.
Is There Training Specific for an Appointed Person?
Even if an appointed person is not required to have first aid training, some employers would require them to take an appointed person course.
Appointed person training is common, especially in high-risk work environments.
Particularly, employers in the construction industry require the appointed person to undergo approved training.
This is because work in such an environment entails health and safety risks from lifting operations and machine use.
Other industries are also required to prioritise their employees’ health and safety. Approved training is mainly necessary if work involves:
- Lifting operations
- Heavy machinery
- Asbestos and electricity
- Chemicals and corrosives
What Are the Main Responsibilities of an Appointed Person?
The first aid appointed person is not formally trained to provide first aid care. But their role is still vital in providing emergency cover in the workplace.
Appointed persons provide adequate assistance in emergencies along with first aiders.
But how can they provide emergency cover without first aid training?
As we have mentioned previously, the main role of an appointed person does not require them to receive proper instruction.
Contrary to first aiders, the responsibilities of an appointed person involve:
1. Monitoring the Availability of First Aid Kits, First Aid Equipment, and Facilities
First aid kits, facilities, and other first aid equipment are necessary for every workplace to ensure the health and safety of workers.
This guarantees that the company is equipped with the necessary supplies to provide adequate first aid care.
While the appointed person is not in charge of first aid, they must ensure that first aid kit stocks are fully loaded.
They see to it that the supplies are not out of date. And first aid equipment and facilities are not damaged.
The appointed person is also responsible for keeping track of lacking supplies and first aid equipment in the workplace.
2. Calling for Emergency Services
Given that an appointed person is not a trained first aider, they must know the digits to dial in case of emergencies.
But do you really need an appointed person to call for help?
Surely, everyone can do such an easy task. But when under commotion, the public tends to panic.
Everyone could also assume that someone had already made a call. And the first aider could be busy taking care of the patient.
This delays the necessary treatment needed by casualties. Or worse, their situation could complicate. And lead them to further harm or damage.
3. Take Care of Injured or Ill Employees
In the absence of a first aider, an appointed person can help the casualty alleviate the situation.
They can provide necessary help within the bounds of their capabilities.
However, they should not perform the duties of a trained first aider. Instead, they can take care of the patient by:
- Calling for professional help
- Preparing the first aid kit and first aid equipment necessary
- Giving reassurance to the injured or ill employee
4. Keep a Record of Emergencies and First Aid Given
There are instances where employers are required to report health and safety-related incidents.
Hence, an appointed person must keep a record of the emergencies that took place and the first aid care provided.
This also helps evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s first aid measures. And aid it in improving its response to these matters.
An appointed person can keep track of such matters through a company’s accident book and accident report forms.
5. Provide Emergency Cover
First aiders are not the only ones in charge of first aid cover.
The appointed persons are also responsible for these matters. But this only applies if first aiders are unavailable.
In the presence of first aiders, the appointed person can provide emergency cover by doing other first aid arrangements like calling for emergency services.
Is an Appointed Person a Legal Requirement?
As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to have first aid care available in your workplace.
You have to make sure that the health of your employees is being taken care of. And that they’re working in a safe work environment.
To do so, you need to comply with minimum requirements. And one of which is having a named person to be in charge of first aid arrangements.
The responsibilities of an appointed person are vital in ensuring the company’s compliance with the law in terms of Occupational Health and Safety.
An appointed person is as necessary as a first aider in your company.
They ensure that the workplace is a safe and healthy environment for employees.
And they also aid in the immediate provision of care to injured or ill patients on-site.
Having a named person to take care of such arrangements will not only guarantee that you comply with legal responsibilities.
You also assure your employees that they are being taken care of in good hands.