Are you preparing to re-start first aid training?

As we begin to return to work in England, the key question for trainers is-

‘Am I safe to train?’

To determine the answer to this, a risk assessment must be completed detailing the control measures that you are able to put in place. The HSE have issued general workplace control measures that need to be referred to alongside the specific guidance for teaching first aid from the UK Resuscitation Council.

The key message is that delegates must be 2m apart and your risk assessment will need to determine whether you can achieve this in the settings that you are asked to train in.

For help on completing a risk assessment and to download a risk assessment template visit the HSE website page Managing Risk and Risk Assessments at Work

The UK resus guidelines issued in March remain the same, they explain the hygiene procedures required for first aid training during Covid-19.  The main points to consider in your risk assessment are:

  • Learners need to observe a high standard of handwashing during the course.
  • Learners who are exhibiting symptoms typical of flu, a cold, a cough or have been in close contact with someone who has the COVID-19 infection should exclude themselves from the course. Likewise if an individual has travelled into the country in the last 2 weeks they should be excluded from the course.
  • Wipe the chest, forehead and face of the manikin using disinfectant/alcohol wipes between learners and allow the surface to dry naturally before the next learner takes their turn.
  • Replace and dispose of manikin lungs and airways after each training session.
  • Students may use individual face shields or a pocket mask if they so wish and they should be disposed of safely at the end of the session.
  • Once the delivery of breaths has been assessed once they do not need to demonstrate this during the remainder of the course.

Read the full statement issued by the UK Resuscitation Council regarding the delivery of first aid training:

Many practical elements of first aid courses mean that social distancing will be difficult to maintain. Your risk assessment will need to consider these areas and the PPE that may be required.

How can students practise the recovery position?

If you have a full length manikin the students can use this to demonstrate their skills. Otherwise students will need to wear a mask and gloves as advised by the HSE for people working in close contact. Handwashing or hand sanitiser must be available after each practical skill.

How can students demonstrate control of bleeding?

Single use training bandages that are disposed after the course will reduce cross contamination. Students could bandage their own leg to demonstrate applying pressure and dressing a wound. Demonstrating a sling is not necessary to pass the course.

If you have prosthetic training limbs these can be used to demonstrate bandaging and must be cleaned using alcohol based wipes between users.

What about using a choking vest?

Choking technique can be demonstrated on a manikin torso which may be easier to clean between users than a choking vest.


Individual circumstances will determine how you complete your risk assessment. The number of manikins and other equipment that you have access to will affect how easy it is to separate students. Purchasing wipes, gloves and masks will also be a challenge due to the unprecedented demand on suppliers at this current time.  All in all, managing social distancing in a subject area where hands on training is a central part of the course will not be an easy task.

We can never remove all risk; your aim will be to demonstrate via a risk assessment how you have implemented measures to control the spread of COVID_19 in your working environment. If your assessment shows that you cannot adequately control the risk at this present time your training must be postponed.

For further help and advice as we as we move forward together please email: