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Department of Computer Science and Technology



The Health and Safety (First aid) Regulations 1981 require the University as an employer to provide (amongst other things):

  • Personnel to enable First Aid to be given to employees (and students and members of the public who have come into institutions during events such as the Science Festival and visits to museums).
  • Adequate and appropriate First Aid equipment
  • First Aid facilities.


The University currently has approximately 330 qualified First Aiders spread across departments and sites. The University has approximately 7500 staff and 18000 students. The University’s rich history and the museums and colleges attract many visitors from all over the world; the Fitzwilliam Museum alone attracts 300,000 visitors a year.

This begs the question, are our current provisions adequate and will they meet the needs of the coming years as the University continues to grow? Future developments include:

  • Increased student numbers
  • Continued expansion of the Cambridge region attracting more visitors to some of our internationally renowned centres such as the Fitzwilliam Museum.
  • An increased interaction with younger students through Open Days, Science Festival, events such as Physics at Work, which attracts 2000 school children, and Education Outreach programmes.
  • An increase number of activities in the build up to the celebration of 800 years of the University in 2009.

Strategy for 2005-2010

Any future strategy must be based on an assessment of significant risks faced by the University and its departments and must consider:

  • Are there specific risks such as working with hazardous substances, dangerous machinery, equipment or animals?
  • Are there parts of the University where different levels of risk have been identified? Levels of risk are:
    1. Lower risk – office based environments, administration
    2. Medium risk – stores, light workshops
    3. Higher risk – research laboratories, eg Chemistry where there is the specific risk of handling chemicals.
  • Is the University remote from emergency medical provision? (This also includes staff and students who are working ‘in the field’.)
  • Are there particular jobs that potentially bring staff into contact with people in distress? Example are security patrollers first on the scene of an incident or museum attendants treating a member of the public.
  • Are special arrangements required for some categories of visitors to the University? Do First Aiders in departments where they are likely to come into contact with children or other potentially vulnerable people require relevant Child Protection Training and Criminal Records Bureau checks?
  • An increasingly ageing population represent a large proportion of visitors to some of our institutions. In addition the nature of the Academic Community allows some retired members of staff to maintain working space in departments. This group of people may be at a greater risk of heart attacks; should the University consider providing Automated External Defibrillators to these departments? This would require a detailed proposal with the support of Occupational Health to include costings and training. It would also require a major commitment on behalf of University First Aiders.
  • Personal hygiene is vital to providing First Aid in clean and safe environment. The NHS are recommending an alcohol based hand wash (mainly as a result of the MRSA outbreaks) to be used by all First Aiders.
  • Are the current numbers of First Aiders enough to meet the demands placed on them and are the funding arrangements sufficient to meet the demands placed on them and are the funding arrangements sufficient? There is not usually a problem recruiting and retaining First Aiders. The payment of a small honorarium of £180 per annum for the first three years and £240 thereafter may be a help in this. The current five group leaders also get paid an honorarium of £360. The honoraria are funded by the Health and Safety Division’s budget. See Appendix I.


The present level of First Aid provision is currently about right, but as the University develops and more students and members of the public including children come into departments a more flexible approach is required.

  1. The present funding for the honorarium for First Aiders and Group Leaders should be a Personnel function similar to other safety related duties that receive payment, such as Biological Safety Officers and Radiation Protection Supervisors
  2. Frontline staff such as Security Patrollers, Museum Attendants, Maintenance Electricians and Plumbers should be given Emergency Aid Training as part of their duties. This is necessary both from their own work perspective and the increased likelihood of coming across an incident. On going annual training of 20 Emergency Aiders costs around £700 per year.
  3. Higher risk departments and activities should review their First Aid risk assessments to identify their needs. Where the numbers of First aiders required by departments are being reviewed they should take account of the guidelines in Appendix I.
  4. Departments where children regularly visit must identify First Aiders who can treat young people if there is a requirement. These First Aiders must undertake Child Protection Training and have relevant CRB checks. The costs of this should be met by the department.
  5. The Department of Physical Education and Occupational Health have purchased a defibrillator (and have trained staff in its use) for use at Fenner’s. Extending these to other sites must be considered, ideal sites would be:

    Downing Site
    New Museums Site
    Fitzwilliam Museum

    This would involve an initial capital cost of approximately £10k to purchase the defibrillators and train the staff. There would be recurrent training cost of approximately £100 per person per year.

  6. The NHS recommended handwash, in the form of a pump-action bottle or sealed wipes, should be purchased by the departments.
  7. The annual costs of refresher training for approximately 80 First Aiders each year at £150 per course is £12k.


No matter how safe the University is or how well the risks are managed, accidents can still happen; employees, students, contractors and members of the public may be injured or taken ill and require immediate attention. The first function of first aid is to ensure that the injured or ill person has the best chance of recuperation until medical assistance is available (if required). The first aider will limit the period of deterioration of the condition of the injured or ill person and where possible promote their recovery.

In addition to normal duties, the University first aider may be required during a major incident, in a department where there are multiple casualties. They may be considered to be part of the University’s Emergency Plans.

Attached in Appendix II is a breakdown of the costs of providing a little bit more than we are doing at present but with the future developments they must be seriously considered as a ‘must’ rather than a need.

W J Hudson
17 October 2005

Appendix 1: Generic risk assessment for the provision of first aid

30 September 2005

Category of Risk Numbers Employed Suggested Number of First Aiders Comments

Low Risk Environments:

Offices, Administration, Libraries


Less then 50




More than 100


1 Appointed Person (e.g. someone to take control of an accident/incident and contact a First Aider)

1 First Aider


1 addition of First Aider for each 100 employed.

All assessments of risk have to be based on judgement and some office areas may have the potential for higher risk activities.

Medium Risk Environments:

Workshops, Stores, Museums

And other areas/activities where the public interacts with the University

Less than 20




More than 100

1 Appointed Person


1 First Aider for every 50 employed


1 addition of First Aider for every 100 employed



High Risk Environments:

Maintenance, Construction, Research Laboratories (e.g. Chemistry, Engineering), lone working, working abroad, field work




Less than 5







More than 50

1 Appointed Person




At least 1 First Aider



1 additional First Aider for every 50 employed.

Where there are higher risk circumstances such as Fieldwork where there will be a remoteness from emergency medical services or working with Chemicals such as Hydrofluoric Acid or Cyanide, additional First Aiders may be required as will additional training.

There will be specific activities (such as security patrolling) and job roles (such as electrical work) which will take employees of the University into areas they will be unfamiliar with, increasing the risk. A level of Emergency Aid Training may be appropriate.

Appendix 2: Funding requirements

  Type of Training Cost


Emergency Aid Training

£700 per annum


Defibrillators: Initial capital costs

Ongoing costs


£2k per annum


Refresher training for approximately 80 first aiders

£12k per annum


Updating First Aid Handbook and First Aid info

£1k per annum


Child Protection Training and CRB checks for target groups of first aiders who may come into contact with children

£2k per annum


Training for new first aiders (approx 20 per annum)

£5k per annum