Occupational First Aid – When must I do a refresher course

Occupational First Aid

  • How long does certification last for
  • When must I do a refresher course

For clarification on this question and others please see below taken from the Health & Safety Authority First Aid Frequently Asked Questions Website:


Do I need a qualified first aider in my workplace?


A risk assessment in the context of the Safety Statement should consider the numbers employed, the nature of the work, the degree of hazard, the level of accidents arising, the size and location of the workplace, the distribution of the employees, shift working, availability of an occupational health service with the workplace and the distance and duration from external medical services etc.


How many first aiders should be present in a workplace?


The table below gives an indicative number of first aiders required for different types of workplaces.


Type of Workplace Maximum No. of
at any one time
No. of Occupational
First Aiders
Factories, Construction Sites, Surface Mines and Quarries up to 49 1 if safety statement risk assessment shows it necessary
50-149 Minimum 1
150-299 Minimum 2
> 300 1 extra for every 150 employees or
part thereof
Underground Mines   1 for every 10 employees
or part thereof
Other workplaces up to 99 1 if safety statement risk assessment shows it necessary
100-399 1
400-699 2
  more than 700 1 extra for every 300 employees or part thereof.


If the designated occupational first aider is absent from the place of work, what must the employer do?

If the occupational first aider is absent in temporary or exceptional circumstances, the employer may designate a person, to take charge of an injured or ill person until medical assistance is obtained. Such person’s functions, if they have not received training in basic life saving skills, would, primarily be to seek appropriate assistance as soon as possible and to ensure that nothing further is allowed to occur which would exacerbate the problems of the injured person.

Foreseeable absences such as planned annual leave are not considered “temporary or exceptional circumstances” In these situations the employer must ensure that there is an adequate number of trained occupational first aiders to cover the foreseeable absences or leave, if the need for an occupational first aider in the workplace has been identified.

How is a first aider contacted?
There must be effective means of communication to contact the first aider when required, which will include a telephone/ mobile phone/ pager/ radio.

How are the emergency services contacted?

The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the local emergency services must be clearly displayed in the workplace. Emergency plans and procedures must be in place and people designated and trained to implement them. It must be clear who makes contact with the emergency services.

When did the changes to occupational first aid commence?

The occupational first aid assessment agent (OFAAA) commenced assessing first aid training providers on the 1st June 2008. The new FETAC Level 5 occupational first aid standard commenced on the 1st September 2008.

How long is an occupational first aid training course?

A training course is run over a minimum of 3 days or 24 hours with a 2 hour assessment/exam. Courses can be delivered over a number of weeks.

What is the retraining requirement?

Occupational first aiders must do a 1 day refresher and assessment to be re-certified.

When do occupational first aiders need additional training?

Occupational first aiders may need additional specialised training if a work place has employees exposed to any special hazards such as:

  • risk of poisoning by toxic substances, e.g. certain cyanides and related compounds
  • risk of burns from corrosive or oxidising substances, e.g. hydrofluoric acid
  • risk of accidental exposure to hazardous substances, e.g. toxic, irritant or asphyxiant gases, requiring oxygen for resuscitation
  • Other specific risks identified in the Safety Statement
  • Additional provisions in other regulations such as administration of oxygen


What type of a certificate does a first aider receive?

A first aider will receive a Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) Level 5 certificate in Occupational First Aid.

Thereafter, the first aider will receive a certificate from the registered training provider for 2 yearly refresher training as FETAC does not issue refresher certificates.

The first aider will receive a proforma letter from the training provider indicating he/she has attended the course and passed the assessment pending the receipt of the FETAC certificate.

What happens if a first aider’s certificate lapses?

Where certification for an occupational first aider lapses, a 1 day refresher training is required if the lapse is less than 3 months, otherwise the full 3 day training is required.

How long is certification valid for?

Occupational first aid certification is valid for 2 years after which refresher training is required.

I am an existing occupational first aider. When I am required to do refresher training?

 Whenever your existing certificate lapses. For people trained prior to 1st September 2008, this will be 3 years from the date the training took place and will be indicated on your existing certificate. For those trained after the 1st September 2008, the period is 2 years.

 Are occupational first aid certificates from other countries valid in Ireland?

No -There are no mutual recognition agreements between Ireland and other countries on occupational first aid. Therefore occupational first aid certificates obtained in other countries are not transferable and are not valid in Ireland. In order to be a valid occupational first aider in Ireland, you must do the training in Ireland.


Also below see page 20 of the HSA published Guidelines on First Aid at Places of Work 2008.pdf which can be downloaded at the following link Guidelines_on_First_Aid_at_Places_of_Work_2008

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