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First aid courses to "help people stay healthy"

Employee well-being must be a priority in order to maintain a happy and committed workforce, say the Department of Health.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson believes that helping people to stay healthy at work will improve staff morale and productivity, but there remains a lack of clarity on how to achieve this.

It is suggested that workers should be given the opportunity to learn first aid.

The British Cross believe that as well ensuring that workplace accidents and illnesses are handled correctly, staff who have been provided with the chance to learn life saving skills feel more assured and appreciate their employer for providing them with the opportunity to attend.

A survey of employees who had taken a first aid course found that 100% it had contributed towards their personal development and another 97% considered themselves of more value to their employer.

Some 97% said they felt more confident in their working life and the same number said they felt more confident in themselves after training.

The government's Health, Work and Wellbeing strategy was launched in 2005 to encourage employers to "ensure that employees are not injured or made ill at work," but this contrasts sharply with the £6.5 bn per year spent on health and safety failures by UK employers.

Anna Brown, head of customer services for red cross first aid training, said: "Ensuring that our employees learn first aid is so much more than just complying with your health and safety obligations.

"Encouraging people to learn a life skill, such as first aid, shows your commitment to the employee and also to the well being of the whole team.

"The confidence and motivation that it can give to these indivduals is invaluable, both in and out of the work place."

Department of Health