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Tablets & Medications

Printed From: Association of First Aiders
Category: First Aid FAQ
Forum Name: First Aid Provision in the Workplace
Forum Discription: FAQs relating to the workplace
Printed Date: 21 Oct 2018 at 12:54pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.50 -

Topic: Tablets & Medications
Posted By: Patrick Spry
Subject: Tablets & Medications
Date Posted: 27 May 2008 at 3:02pm

Are first aiders allowed to give tablets and medication to casualties?

HSE guidance in the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance: - First aid at work. The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 L74 , states that first aid at work does not include giving tablets or medication to treat illness and such items should not be kept in the first aid box. However, strictly speaking, there is no legal bar to employers making such items available to employees, if the assessment of first aid needs indicates they should be provided. HSE has no objection to paracetamol or aspirin being made available in the workplace. First aiders administering these tablets should have a reasonable understanding of what is involved.

HSE has no objection to employers providing vending machines for dispensing paracetamol. It is preferable that these machines are not located in areas where the public will have access to them.

Some workers carry their own medication such as inhalers for asthma or ‘Epipens’ which contain injectable adrenaline for the treatment of severe allergic (anaphylactic) reactions, for example to peanuts. These medications are prescribed by a doctor. If an individual needs to take their own prescribed medication, the first aider’s role is limited to helping them do so and contacting the emergency services as appropriate.

Medicines legislation restricts the administration of injectable medicines. Unless self administered, they may only be administered by or in accordance with the instructions of a doctor (eg by a nurse). However, in the case of adrenaline there is an exemption to this restriction which means in an emergency, a suitably trained lay person is permitted to administer it by injection for the purpose of saving life. The use of an Epipen to treat anaphylactic shock falls into this category. Therefore, first aiders may administer an Epipen if they are dealing with a life threatening emergency in a casualty who has been prescribed and is in possession of an Epipen and where the first aider is trained to use it.

The use of tablets and medication in the context of first aid provision in the offshore industry is dealt with separately (see sections on offshore work under ‘ - The law ’ and ‘ - Training ’).

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