In Ontario, all employers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) must provide a safe working environment to their employees, as well as safety training and an accessible first aid kit. The requirements vary depending on the total number of employees, as well as how many are working at any one time.
The Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) states that a workplace with 5 or fewer employees working at one time should have at least one with an Emergency First Aid certificate. For workplaces with 6 or more employees working at one time, they must include one person who has a Standard First Aid certificate.
These certificates can be obtained at a number of organizations in Ontario. An Emergency First Aid certificate will take 6.5 hours, and the Standard First Aid will take 13 hours to complete. The time required to complete these courses will by law be paid for by your employer.
Workplaces need to follow the first aid kit requirements outlined in Regulation 1101, and the contents will depend on the number of employees on your job site. Some of the general requirements include inspecting the first aid equipment every three months, keeping a detailed record of any incidents and the first aid treatment given. Employers must also cover all costs associated with the first aid equipment and services, and must post the WSIB “In Case of Injury” poster, first aid certificates, and a kit inspection card in a place where employees can access. These requirements apply to all Ontario employees no matter their workplace, including off-site locations.
You must have at least one person trained for each shift, but there is no specific ratio of first aid certificate holders to employees. However it is best practice to assess your workplace’ size and layout in order to decide if the first aid holder can reach everyone within two minutes.
It is recommended that each workplace have more than one employee certified in first aid and CPR. There are situations where only one first aid person is needed, such as truck drivers, but generally the more certified first aid holders the better your workplace will be. If a situation arises where your certified first aid holder is not available, your workplace will be out of compliance. Should a situation occur during this time, you will be held liable.
Possible situations where your first aid holder is unavailable:
These are just some examples of situations where your workplace may need more than one first aid holder.
WSIB regulations do not have requirements for those who work alone, other than stating that it should be considered a hazard and they should have access to first aid supplies. It is considered best practices for those who work alone to be trained in emergency first aid.
Although anyone can be trained in first aid, there are still guidelines on who will be a good candidate. Someone who is uncomfortable touching others, taking charge of a situation, becomes ill at the sight of blood, or who is commonly unavailable (working off-site, or in meetings) may not be the ideal candidate.
Someone who has had previous training, and is interested in further or updated training is ideal. As are those who have management skills, reliable attendance, a willingness to assist others and a workplace proximity to the first aid kit are also good characteristics of a first aid holder. Some companies list first aid training as an advantageous skill to have on employment postings.
Being able to respond in a timely manner to emergency situations can mean the difference between a healthy and productive worker, and one who needs time off to recover. Following a first aid situation that has been mishandled, companies may find a loss of moral and trust among their staff. Keeping your staff in good health is an important and often overlooked aspect of a company’s profitability. According to WSIB, approximately 50,000 lost time injuries (LTI’s) occur each year, and cost their employers insurance system over $1.5 billion. Keeping your employees safe isn’t just the law, it’s smart business.
Each member of the Berg team uses their skills, expertise and best operating procedures to work safely everyday. We have over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of skills, and our trades people have been extensively trained in safety programs. At Berg Industrial Service, we do it safely or not at all.