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Employers Need to Prepare for PHECC FAR – Deadline NOW Extended to December

New PHECC First Aid Training Requirements – NOW Extended To 31st December 2017

Employers need to review their first aid training and staffing arrangements, as the PHECC FAR first aid standard will become the HSA recognised occupational first aid qualification from 31.12.17

Since the HSA and PHECC first announced the transition from the QQI first aid standard, attention has mainly been focused on the impact on occupational first aid trainers. The deadline was originally September 1st but due to representation by the CIF Safety Policy Committee to HSA and PHECC regarding issues arising from this transition, the deadline has been extended to December 31st. The HSA has agreed that dual recognition of QQI 5N1207 and PHECC FAR will continue for a further period of 4 months, up to 31.12.17. Thereafter the HSA will only recognise PHECC FAR.


Perhaps the first thing for those in the OSH world, who for 20 years or more have been used to the term occupational first aider, is to become familiar with PHECC terminology. From September occupational first aiders will become PHECC first aid responders: PHECC FAR.

The next phase employers need to become familiar with is: ‘Recognised Institution’. PHECC courses are delivered by people, businesses or voluntary organisations who are PHECC Recognised Institutions (RIs), or by people who are affiliated to the faculty of a RI.

In relation to first aid there are two categories of RIs: those approved to deliver instructor courses and those approved to deliver FAR provider courses. Some RIs are approved in both categories. The one that employers seeking to train staff need to look at is the list of RIs approved to deliver FAR provider courses. Currently there are about 18 approved FAR provider RIs. New applications for registration are being processed and the number of RIs is expected to grow.

Not all people who can deliver FAR provider training will be themselves RIs, but if they are not an approved RI, they need to be affiliated to an approved RI. What employers training PHECC FARs need to do is check with the person providing the training that the person is either a recognised institution or is affiliated to a recognised institution. Unlike OFAAA, there will not be a full list of qualified trainers easily accessible.



One possible cost saving is that the trainer will now be able to assess the trainees. An external examiner will not be needed, which will result in a saving of about €200 per course. However some in the field do not consider this sum significant in the context of the overall cost.

Another issue of concern is that in future refresher training will take two days, as opposed to a day currently. This again raises costs, but for some employers who operate shifts the two-day course presents shift organisation problems.

Grenfell Tower Fire Prompts Calls for End to Safety Deregulation

While the focus following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy has on been on safety in residential buildings, the British TUC has also called for high-rise workplaces to be tested and safety organisations, including IOSH, have called for an end to health and safety deregulation.

Here in Ireland the work-related aspect of the tragedy – in which at least 79 people lost their lives – has been alluded to by the new Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, who reminded the owners of buildings (other than dwellings), of their responsibilities under section 18(2)[4] of the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003 (see Table below).

Minister Murphy said that in order to assist those who hold responsibility, consideration is being given to the publication of a guide on undertaking fire risk assessments under section 18(6)[a] (see Table).

While Minister Murphy’s statement concentrated on residential premises over 18 metres (six stories) high, his reference to section 18 reminds prudent employers, owners or occupiers of a business premises six storeys’ high or over to consider the fire risks in their premises. Indeed the tragedy should act as a reminder to all employers occupying any type of business premises to review their fire safety arrangements.


In the UK, the TUC has welcomed the Government’s announcement that following the Grenfell Tower fire, cladding on hospitals and schools will be tested for safety. However, they have expressed concern that the Government has not given any guidance to employers who may have staff working in high-rise buildings.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said workers need reassurance about their safety and if there is any risk to them, there must be immediate action. She said the Government should give advice to employers on how to ensure buildings are safe. The advice should include information on types of cladding and insulation materials which may be dangerous, how to get samples tested and what remedial action should be taken if their cladding fails safety tests.


IOSH is among over 70 organisations who have, following the Grenfell Tower fire, written to British Prime Minister, Theresa May, calling on her to scrap the British Government’s approach to deregulation.

In the letter, which is also signed by RoSPA and the British Safety Council, the organisations tell Prime Minister May that she has the power to immediately remove a further risk to people at work. The organisations say the disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and a wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.

The Fire Brigades Union, in a statement expressing its solidarity with the residents of Grenfell Tower, states that at the height of the incident, 250 firefighters were on the scene. That figure on its own shows that the fire, as well as being a public housing disaster, was also a very significant workplace incident.