A needs assessment is important to ensure adequate first aid arrangements (training and equipment) for the work undertaken in the department. This exercise should consider the hazards and risks, the numbers of people involved, arrangements to cover lone or out of hours working and if any special training is required. First Aid Coordinators can download the Departmental First Aid Provision Tool to assist them in assessing and recording the departments first aid requirements. We recommend the provision tool is used in inconjuction with the guidance notes on this webpage. However if more specific information is required please refer to the first aid policy and guidance notes.

We recommend you complete one assessment per building/part of building you occupy. Where more than one department is situated in the same building or floor they need to share the information to avoid duplication and benefit from additional support in the case of an emergency. On South Kensington Campus, the Security team provide first aid support. Members of the Emergency Response Team are trained first aiders and can be included as an available resource.

Notes Accompanying First Aid Assessment Tool

Campus Security Support Note: 1

  • Note 1: Security staff at South Kensington are First Aid at Work qualified and provide backup support to departments based on campus when there is difficulty locating a first aider and out of hours.

    On the medical campuses, the “Crash” teams cover is provided by the NHS Trust. Staff can attend A&E with injuries illness beyond the scope of a First Aider. Imperial staff are not given priority over other patients. Medically qualified staff can count as first aiders provided they agree to being included in first aid arrangements.

    Security details need to be included on any First Aid notices that are displayed. Security contact information for each campus should be checked to ensure it is accurate. The security web page lists this information and is a good starting point:


Determine minimum local requirements Note: 2

  • Note 2: Consider the building/department’s average occupancy during college working hours. The minimum requirements for first aid cover are:

    Lifesaver: 2 for 1st 50 occupants and 1 per every additional 100 occupants.

    First Aid at Work Qualified: 1 per building and 1 per every additional 200 occupants. 

    Foreseeable absences of first aiders: holidays, sick leave, work commitments away from the person’s usual location have to be taken into account when calculating levels of provision.

Layout and Joint Cover Arrangements Notes: 3, 4

  • Note 3: If you are located over a number of floors, this needs to be taken into account to ensure a first aider can reach an incident. Our recommendation is at least 1 lifesaver per floor, unless there are less than 30 people occupying your area. This should be jointly considered with location of hazards – see hazards section. 

  • Note 4: Priority should be given to allocating first aid resources within your department. Joint cover arrangements in a building between users can be an effective way to help cover a building and reduce the number of staff required to be first aiders. However, joint cover arrangements may not always be practical. Arrangements need to be agreed and documented by departments and training/instruction given if required. This training/instruction should cover what a first aider should be aware of if entering another department’s area.

Hazard Notes: 5, 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d

  • Note 5: It may be necessary to reference existing COSHH & Risk Assessments. Appropriate training must be give to deal with specific hazards.

    To assess whether a hazard is low, medium or high, the likelihood of an accident occurring as well as the potential severity of the injury needs to be considered. For example:

    Risk RatingDescription
    High Risk If there is a potential to cause serious injury and the likelihood of this happening is medium to high (i.e.: high frequency of use) then it has a high risk rating.
    Medium Risk The potential for serious injury is high with low likelihood; Medium injury potential with medium likelihood.
    Low Risk Low potential for serious injury with medium/low likelihood; Medium injury potential with low likelihood

    First aid arrangements for different risk ratings are as follows:

    Risk RatingFirst Aid Cover RequiredDetail
    Low 1 life saver in the general area First Aiders for these areas can be built into the number required as a whole.
    Medium 1 life saver in the immediate area Selected first aider/s must be someone with knowledge of local risks.
    High 1 Lifesaver in the immediate area Departments can use discretion when deciding need FAW recommended if access controls delay outside help in gaining admittance to the area. Selected first aider/s must be someone with knowledge of specific risks.

    Selected first aider/s must be someone with knowledge of specific risks.

    Specific training may be required.
  • Note 6a: Cover in restricted access areas requires careful consideration.  Where access is restricted it means that the nominated first aider must be someone who has (a) access to the facility and (b) knowledge of the specific risks/responses. Lifesavers in restricted areas may not be available for other first aid support and should be viewed as exclusively to a particular lab.
  • Note 6b: Mechanical Hazards - This includes anything relating to manual handling and use of equipment with moving parts or processes which could be intrinsically hazardous (i.e.: potential for snagging or cuts from swarf/ waste).

  • Note 6c: Physical Hazards – This includes work with excessive heat/cold, water, bright light (lasers and welding).

  • Note 6d: First aid provision should be assessed for all field work undertaken. This will form part of the field work/project risk assessment and should not be considered in this departmental first aid assessment. If you have regular field work taking place, staff required to be field work first aiders could be used in your department when they are present.

First Aid Kit Note: 7

  • Note 7: At least one first aid box must be readily available in a building. In large buildings and high risk areas additional boxes may be required. Each department should maintain its own box/box’s. College vehicles should also carry a first aid box. 

    College has negotiated reduced cost supplies with K-MED or Fisher Scientific from the College Laboratory Punchout Suppliers (SciQuest Market Site).