Are online First Aid courses legitimate?
We hear the above questions all the time at BLS Safety and Training. If you need First Aid for work – no matter where you work – then the short answer is no – you can’t just complete an online course. Appropriate First Aid training must include face to face training and assessment of practical skills. There are a number of other criteria that must be met too.
You can’t just complete an online First Aid course if you work in a school, a nursery, an office, a restaurant, on a building site, if you are a childminder, or work anywhere else. It’s that simple.
Why can’t I do my First Aid training online?
There are 2 types of First Aid course commonly seen as online training options – First Aid at Work and Paediatric First Aid. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) oversee First Aid at Work. They say that to satisfy due diligence requirements, you must ensure that:
‘…sufficient time is allocated to classroom based learning and assessment of the practical elements of the syllabus.’
They also remind us that:
‘…elements of the syllabus requiring practical demonstration of First-Aid administration should be assessed by direct observation to ensure the competence of candidates…’
Online First Aid courses can’t meet the requirements of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, even if the organisation claims that their course does. Simply put, the HSE do not allow or recognise online First aid.
Online Paediatric First Aid Courses
Paediatric First Aid courses for people working with children must meet Ofsted requirements and the criteria set out in Annex A of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)document. Annex A of the EYFS documents requires:
- ‘The Emergency Paediatric First Aid course should be undertaken face-to-face and last for a minimum of 6 hours (excluding breaks)…’
- ‘Adequate resuscitation and other equipment including baby and junior models must be provided, so that all trainees are able to practice and demonstrate techniques.’
- ‘The full Paediatric First Aid course should last for a minimum of 12 hours…’
Online Paediatric First Aid courses can give an awareness of First Aid to parents and family members but can’t and do not qualify you to be a First Aider in your workplace.
If you are a parent and just need a basic understanding for your own curiosity before you attend a face to face course, you can check out an online Paediatric First Aid course on our website. However, an online awareness course is never going to replace face to face training where you learn, then practice First Aid skills whilst receiving ongoing constructive feedback and direction from a qualified, experienced trainer.
Employers are legally responsible for ensuring adequate First Aid provision is in place. They are legally required to complete due diligence on any First Aid training providers used and ensure any First Aid certificates people already hold are fit for purpose. If you are self employed – this duty falls on you. If you employ contractors – this duty falls on you. If your insurance provider requires you to have a First Aid certificate, it’s likely you won’t be insured. Online First Aid certificates are not acceptable and are not suitable.
Misleading claims by online First Aid providers
There are many online First Aid training courses that claim that they’re ‘recognised’ and suitable for workplaces including schools. As demonstrated above, they’re not.
These companies will happily take your money because they know they don’t have a duty to choose the right course – that’s your responsibility. These courses can offer an awareness of First Aid – but nothing more. Neither the HSE nor the DFE/Ofsted recognise these courses. You’ll have a nice certificate to display, but that’s it. You can’t be classed as a First Aider in any workplace.
Some courses can be taught partially by distance learning with the rest taught face to face. These courses are just as long as face to face courses, but some of the hours are spent sat in front of a computer instead of practising practical First Aid skills and techniques.
Fully compliant First Aid courses from BLS Safety and Training
Being a First Aider isn’t just about having a First Aid certificate. It’s about having the knowledge, skills and confidence to give someone the best chance in their particular situation. That takes more than watching a video, reading a few slides and printing your own certificate.
Good, competent First Aiders save lives – every day. Give First Aid training the time and attention it deserves – the life you save might be your own. Need a fully compliant first aid courses please get in touch– we love to help!