Providing first aid in retail workplaces

BY Australian Retailers Association
26 April 2019

First aid requirements in the retail industry is a common query for most retailers. Providing for first aid in retail is not always a simple and straightforward task. The first step for retailers is to understand the legal requirements for the provision of first aid, and from there retailers can then act to ensure compliance.

Retailers have a duty to provide first aid, and at a minimum this means ensuring:

  • The provision of first aid equipment for the workplace;
  • Each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment; and
  • Each worker has access to facilities for the administration of first aid

Furthermore, a retailer must ensure:

  • An adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace; or
  • Workers have access to an adequate number of other persons who have been trained to administer first aid; and
  • First aid kits are kept close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness, as well as inside work vehicles if workers are expected to travel as part of their job.

When planning for first aid (number of first aiders, contents of first aid kits, need for first aid room), the first step a retailer should take is to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment. The risk assessment should take into account the following factors:

  • the nature of the work being carried out at the workplace;
  • the nature of the hazards at the workplace;
  • the size and location of the workplace;
  • the number and composition of the workers and other persons at the workplace.

This process will assist in determining what first aid is required.


Guidance on First aid

It is recommended by Safe Work Australia, that in low-risk workplaces a first aid room is provided when there are more than 200 workers, and in high-risk workplaces when there are more than 100 workers.

As a rule of thumb there should be one first aider for every:

  • 50 workers in low-risk workplaces (an office)
  • 25 workers in high-risk workplaces (a warehouse).

A trained first aider will need to hold a nationally recognised statement of attainment from a registered training organisation.

If first aid facilities provided by others nearby are available, for example in retail shopping centres, it may not be necessary for a small business retailer to provide their own first aid officer.

Incidents involving first aid response

Where first aid treatment is provided, record should be kept by the first aid officer and a copy provided to management for review of any first aid arrangements.

Records of notifiable incidents (serious incidents required to be notified to the Regulator) must be kept for at least five years from the date of the notification.

Further Reading/Guidance

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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