St John Ambulance has released findings which show that over one third of employees are concerned their workplaces don’t have enough first aiders. The first aid charity has found that many businesses simply aren’t equipped to handle a first aid emergency, with 50% of employers lacking any formal process for assessing first aid needs. Further to this, 80% of people have found themselves at work with no first aid cover whatsoever.

According to St John Ambulance, too many people lack the skills to cope in an emergency, with less than 20% knowing even basic first aid, which could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

The survey also reveals that:

* Workers in the agricultural, forestry and fishing sector are most accident prone, with 54% of employees having been present when a colleague required first aid. It is closely followed by mining (44%), manufacturing (40%) and education (38%)
* A lack of first aid has had a big impact on agricultural, forestry and fishing workers, with 28.8% having lost a colleague to an accident or illness that could have been prevented by adequate first aid. Transport, communication and utilities were next with 14.4%, followed by construction workers at 13.4%
* Over 60% of first aiders trained at work have used their skills outside the workplace on a family member (46%), friend or acquaintance (22%) or stranger (17%).

Richard Evens, Director of Training and Marketing at St John Ambulance, said:

“Every employee deserves to feel safe in their working environment and ensuring there are enough first aiders in the event of an emergency is paramount. The fact that over one third of employees fear they don’t have enough first aiders at work is quite concerning.

“Employers need to remember that one first aider is rarely enough. If that first aider goes on holiday or is taken ill, the workplace is left vulnerable. They should also remember that learning first aid at work doesn’t just make workplaces safer but also benefits family, friends and strangers too with so many first aiders using their skills outside of work.”

St John Ambulance’s research comes the same week the charity launches a hard-hitting campaign highlighting people’s misconceptions about the impact of a lack of first aid at home and in the workplace. The campaign highlights the fact that up to 140,000 people die each year in situations where first aid could have helped save their lives – as many as die from cancer.

To demonstrate the importance of first aid, and put it into context, St John Ambulance’s newly-launched advert follows the journey of a man who is diagnosed with cancer, undergoes treatment, and survives only to die as a result of choking at a family gathering because no one knows the basic first aid that could have saved his life.