We have had a number of learners, employers and centres asking about an extension for requalification training in first aid. Naturally, due to the circumstances we have been reassuring everyone that special considerations will be made.
Today the HSE have stated:
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware that people holding Offshore Medic (OM), Offshore First Aid (OFA), First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates nearing expiry date, might experience disruption to access to requalification training as a result of events or circumstances generated by the coronavirus pandemic.
HSE’s current guidance on the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l74.pdf and the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989 https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l123.pdf is that those holding an OM, OFA, FAW or EFAW qualification should undertake retraining before their original certificate expires and HSE strongly recommends that employers, and individuals holding those qualifications should plan for requalification training well in advance of expiry dates.
If however requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus or by complying with related government advice, it is reasonable and practical to extend the validity of current certificates by up to 3 months. Anyone taking advantage of this extension should be able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.
This guidance comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020. HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.
Also, the Department of Education has commented as follows:
The Department for Education supports the HSE statement regarding the extension of first aid certificates during coronavirus emergency and that it can be applied to paediatric first aid certificates held by staff in early years provision.
The process for managing these situations is available in lfowchart format and outlined in our COVID-19 Webinar. Both available to centres in our centre support portal.
We will be discussing these updates in our centres facebook group on Friday 20/03/2020 at 19:30.
On 16/03/2020 we will be hostnig a webinar related to the possible impacts of COVID-19 and the actions we will be taking. There is limited capacity and centres that have planned courses in the next 3 months were invited as they are most likely to be affected.
The webinar will be recorrded and available to centres by Tuesday 17/03/2020. We will host a Q&A on Facebook that evening.
The government have convened a meeting of Cobra. At this time the focus remains on containment. This means that training providers should continue to maintain high levels of infection prevention and control on all of their courses, but courses should continue as normal.
As the number of confirmed cases increases to 87 in the UK, the UK resuscitation council have provided guidelines in relation to resuce breaths and manikin hygiene during assessed first aid courses.
Please see section 4:
We have had a number of requests recently in regard to managing the risks associated with the COVID-19.
The information here is based on the current guidance from Public Health England.
For updtaes please visit the public health England website
What is coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.
The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, it is unlikely that they have been infected.
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:
- difficulty in breathing
Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. There is no evidence that children are more affected than other age groups – very few cases have been reported in children.
How is it spread?
COVID-19 is most likely spread when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.
Droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes containing the virus are most likely to be the most important means of transmission.
There are 2 routes by which people could become infected:
- secretions can be directly transferred into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs
- it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching a door knob or shaking hands then touching own face).
There is currently no good evidence that people who do not have symptoms are infectious to others.
How can we prevent the spread?
As the spread is most likely when an individual comes into close
proximity to an individual who is infected, it is important to minimise that
You may wish to add the government advice to your joining instructions. This advice is for those that have returned to the UK from higher risk areas should self-isolate.
There are two categories of countries, this information is being updated daily.
Category 1: Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call NHS 111 to inform of recent travel.
Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
The guidance for Italy, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea), Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam applies to individuals who returned from these specific areas on or after 19 February 2020.
Category 1 countries:
- Wuhan city and Hubei Province
- Daegu or Cheongdo
- Any Italian town under containment measures
- CastelgerundoCastiglione D'Adda
- San Fiorano
- Terranova dei Passerini
Category 2 countries:
- Hong Kong
- Italy (North)
- Republic of Korea*
Having reduced the risk of learners who are at risk of carrying COVID-19 attending your course, the important thing to do is to maintain a higher standard of infection control. This may include, particularly on first aid courses:
- The use of alcohol based wipes to clean equipment
- Cleaning not only the mouth of the manikin but also the face, forehead and chest.
- Wiping other areas that are frequently touched, AEDs, door handles etc.
- Issuing resus face-shields to each learners on first aid courses
- Allowing each learner their own manikin face which can be disinfected after the course
- Changing manikin lungs after each course
- Having a supply of hand sanitizer and encouraging learners to use regularly
At this time, all assessments for first aid courses will continue to assess rescue breaths.
What to do if an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19
If the person has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue.
If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.
The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.
Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.