First Aid Unit Standards: Everything you need know

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With the recent legislative changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations first aid unit standard training requirements, there is quite a lot of confusion and unclarity regarding first aid unit standards requirements. In actual fact, it is fairly straightforward and easy to understand and implement as explained below.

first aid training - first aid unit standards

What is a unit standard?

A unit standard is the basic form of a topic or title of a course or subject, skill, or content that needs to be taught registered within the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) framework of content. It is a title attached to everything such as an activity or skill we need to learn and become competent in. All these first aid unit standard courses or training are consolidated and accumulated and ultimately build up the individual’s portfolio of evidence into becoming a skilled and competent individual within a certain profession, or qualification obtained.   

first aid unit standards legislation

What are the first aid unit standards in South Africa?

In June 2021 the Department of Labour released a Government Gazette notice stating that all Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) or emergency preparedness training organisations need to be unit standards aligned and controlled by a Sectional Education Authority of South Africa (SETA), or the Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA), or other appointed SETA’s and the ultimately the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

What this means is that the government decided to regulate first aid training in South Africa into a professional education sector, which is good for the profession and attending course delegates. This recent change assists in ensuring that organisations and their employees receive accredited quality first aid unit standards aligned training and implement effective OHS and emergency preparedness processes and principles within the workplaces.

first aid training requirements

What are the First Aid Training Requirements?

The first aid training requirements for accredited training providers offering first aid courses in South Africa are as follows:

  • The training provider needs to be accredited as a skills development provider with one of the SETA’s. They must have a valid SETA accreditation certificate;
  • The training provider also needs to be accredited with the Department of Labour as an “Approved First Aid Organisation” as per the OHS Act 85 of 1993 and its General Safety Regulation. This entitles the training provider to train first aid skills and issue a first aid certificate to competent delegates;
  • Theses accreditations mean that the training provider must have or has an OHS subject matter expert in OHS and or first aid content, and that the instructors as registered facilitators, assessors and that the training company has moderators who are able to moderate the delegate portfolio’s of evidence after assessment to ensure that they are competent. 
  • First aid instructors should ideally also be paramedics that are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, thus ensuring that they have a suitable first aid level of information.   

All organisations are required to have first aiders available within their workplace who are trained in an accredited First Aid National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level course. The most common and recommended first aid course trained is – Provide Basic Life Support and First Aid Procedures Unit Standard 119567 and is NQF Level 1. 

What is the importance of first aid measures?

Effective first aid measures and administration have been proven to be a life-saving skills to patients who are injured or suffering from a sudden illness. The emergency services take time to get to a workplace once an incident has occurred, and therefore all organisations are therefore required by the OHS Act and the Department of Labour to have competent first aiders available within the workplace to render first aid skills and provide life support when required. This assists with ensuring the safety of all the employees, should an unexpected accident occur.    

AHS first aid training

Why train first aid through Absolute Health Services?

Absolute Health Services is fully accredited with the Health and Welfare SETA and the Department of Labour to deliver first aid training throughout South Africa. Our courses are also very cost effective with our First Aid NQF Level 1 course only costing R840.00 excluding VAT. There are two other NQF accredited first aid courses, but these require delegates to have a prerequisite SETA accredited HIV course before attending these first aid courses. These two first aid courses are First Aid NQF level 2 and level 3. 

Absolute Health Services is focused on providing a service centred around quality, professionalism, client focused, and being cost effective. We are able to train our clients on site if there are a minimum of 8 delegates on site that require the training. Or delegates are able to join one of our public courses scheduled on preset dates at one of our training centres in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth or Cape Town.  

First Aid Kit Checklist

Ensure that you always have a correctly stocked First Aid Box in your workplace as per the Regulation 7.

Download our free checklist to keep on hand so that your are to respond to emergencies effectively.