HSE announce further extension for first aid certificates
Published: 09 Jun 2020

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated they are aware there could be a disruption for those trying to re-qualify for first aid certificates which they require for work.

Back in March, the HSE announced that certificates for:

  • Offshore Medic (OM);
  • Offshore First Aid (OFA);
  • First Aid at Work (FAW); or
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW),

expiring on or after 16 March 2020 may have the validity of their current certificate extended by up to three months.

This has now been extended further due to disruption caused by COVID-19 still persisting.

Those who wish to qualify for a further extension to their qualification must be able to explain why they haven't been able to requalify and demonstrate what steps they have taken to access the training.

In England the HSE has now agreed a final deadline for requalification of certificates by 30 September 2020. This comes as the first aid training industry in England said they are confident enough courses will be available to meet demand.

There is no such deadline set yet for those in Wales and Scotland as training capacity there might take longer to build. The HSE will review the situation there in the coming months before setting a deadline.

The HSE has said they support the use of online annual refresher training for those unable to book face to face training because of the pandemic. However the HSE strongly recommends the importance of face to face delivery of the practical elements of requalification courses so competency can be properly assessed.

There was also an announcement by the HSE in relation to diver's certificates of medical fitness, saying that any diver with a 12-month certificate of medical fitness to dive which expires on or after 16 March 2020 may be accepted until 1 June 2020, where they can't obtain a medical re-examination with an approved doctor due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arrangements are now in place which allow for interim telephone assessments for divers who can't book a face-to-face medical examination due to COVID-19. These assessments allow the approved medical examiner to issue a three month medical certificate. After this three month certificate they must book in for a face-to-face medical examination.

Divers can only qualify for this interim telephone assessment providing they:

  • have had no symptoms of COVID-19;
  • did not need to self-isolate;
  • have had similar symptoms but tested negative.

The HSE has stipulated the minimum recovery time for divers based on their COVID-19 status and when a return to work assessment will be required. 

All other divers will need to have a full medical in accordance with the requirements of MA1, and in some circumstances a medical without the breathing (spirometry) test can be performed. If this is the case and the medical assessment is satisfactory, a 6-month medical certificate may be issued.


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