The University is required by the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to provide adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities for providing first-aid to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. Although these regulations apply only to employees, the presence of students within the University environment should be taken into account.

On campus, Security form the basis of this provision as they provide a 24-hour presence and a first point of contact in many emergencies. However, a wide range of activities take place under the University's management and the nature and extent of the risks that arise from these must be considered when determining the overall level of first-aid provision that is required. Most departments provide additional trained first aiders to help cover on campus work and these may be essential where work or field trips are undertaken that involved work away from the University.

As a minimum, a low-risk workplace such as a small office should have a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements, such as calling the emergency services if necessary.

Workplaces where there are higher health and safety risks, such as labs and workshops, are more likely to need trained first-aiders amongst their staff. A first-aid needs assessment will help decide what first aid arrangements are appropriate.

Details in the following table are suggestions only - they are not definitive nor are they a legal requirement.

Student presence in an area should be factored in, particularly where they are significantly at risk of injury, but provided there is adequate cover, first aider provision need not meet the ratios below.


Category of riskNumbers employed at any locationSuggested number of first aid personnel
Lower Risk (Offices / Libraries) <50 At least 1 person trained in Emergency First Aid at Work
  50-100 At least 1 first aider
  >100 1 additional first aider for every 100 people
Medium Risk (Catering / Sports & Exercise, etc.) <20 At least 1 person trained in Emergency First Aid at Work
  20-100 At least 1 First aider for every 50 people at risk
  >100 1 additional first aider for every 100 people at risk
High Risk (Laboratories / Workshops) <5 At least 1 person trained in Emergency First Aid at Work
  5-50 At least one first aider
  >50 One additional first aider for every 50 people at risk


The HSE does not specify what should be in the first aid box and the list below is only a suggested contents list. Departments may wish to refer to British Standard BS 8599 which provides further information on the contents of workplace first-aid kits. The contents should reflect the outcome of the first-aid needs assessment.

In most cases first-aid boxes should contain the following items:



Guidance leaflet Provides brief first aid guidelines 1 1 1 1
contents list

Provides a list of first aid kit components
included in kit

1 1 1 1
Medium sterile dressing not less than 12cm x 12cm 4 6 8 1
Large sterile dressing not less than 18cm x 18cm 1 2 2 1
Triangular bandage not less than 90cm x 90cm x 127cm 2 3 4 1
Safety pins Min length 2.5cm 6 12 24 2
Eye pad sterile dressing not less than 7cm x 5cm 2 3 4 1
Sterile adhesive dressing Water resistant 40 60 100 10
Alcohol free moist cleansing wipes Individually wrapped min 80cm2 20 30 40 4
Adhesive tape Roll, individually wrapped 1 1 1 1
Nitrile disposable gloves conform to BS EN 455-1 and BS EN 455-2 6 9 12 1
Finger sterile dressing min 3.5cm 2 3 4 0
Rescuscitation face shield must include a one way valve 1 1 2 1
Foil Blanket 130cm x 210cm 1 2 3 1
Eye wash 250ml 0 0 0 1
Burn dressing water based gel soaked dressing, min 100cm2 surface areas 1 2 2 1
Shears Suitable for cutting cloth and leather 1 1 1 1
Conforming bandage min 7.5cm x 4m 1 2 2 1



As a first step, Heads of unit should consider the hazards which are associated with activities that are within their operational control, such as

  • The different work activities (e.g. office, laboratory or animal handling)
  • The number of staff in the work place at any one time (you may need to consider mandatory first-aid cover for some staff numbers and activities)
  • Geography, both on campus and for remote locations for fieldwork
  • Lone or mobile working and shift work
  • Multiple occupancy buildings and arrangements in place at host organisations
  • Non-employees, if applicable

Following this, an assessment of the risk which relates to each hazard should allow decisions to be taken about the nature and extent of first-aid provision that is necessary. Work involving higher risk activities such as diving, fieldwork, workshop activities etc. will require a greater level of first-aid provision than that in which there are very few hazards e.g., where the work is largely office based.

The following guidance and resources provide further information and support to allow tailoring of first-aid provision to meet the needs of all University departments.

As with all risk assessments, a first aid assessment should be kept under review as circumstances may change that justify a change in first aid cover, for example, an increase in staff numbers or an accident that has highlighted first-aid cover deficiencies. Minimally, management should formally review first aid provision on an annual basis.

The large number of staff and students present on the University campus means that cases of minor illness or ill health occur much more often than physical injuries. incidents such as an epileptic seizure can be distressing to thos involved especially if they don't know what to do in that situation. Information from Epilespy Scotland is provided in the Quick Links section to the right to help inform campus users about this.