Frequently Asked Questions



  1. Recent and Pending Changes to Occupational First Aid (OFA)
  2. First Aid for Early Years Service Providers & Staff





  1. Recent and Pending Changes to Occupational First Aid (OFA)

What has changed?

Since 1st November 2016, the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) recognises both the QQI Occupational First-Aid (OFA) Level 5 and the PHECC First Aid Response (FAR) learner standards as meeting the needs of OFA training in workplaces. From 1st June 2018 the HSA will only recognise PHECC FAR as meeting the needs of OFA in workplaces.



What is PHECC?

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) is an independent statutory body who set the standards for education and training for pre-hospital emergency care in Ireland. PHECC also maintain a statutory register of EMS practitioners. For more details visit: https://www.phecit.ie/



What is First Aid Response (FAR)?

The First Aid Response (FAR) Standard was designed by PHECC to offer appropriate training to individuals and groups who require a first aid skill set including cardiac first response. This standard is designed to meet first aid and basic life support (BLS) requirements that a person known as a “First Aid Responder” may encounter.



What can I expect on a FAR course?

We have structured the FAR course to maximise the practical learning content. Our certified FAR Instructor(s) will utilise a combination of presentations, demonstrations and scenario-based training techniques to give participants the confidence and ability to put theory into practice and to cope with real-life situations that may arise in the workplace or elsewhere.

The FAR course incorporates the CFR Community standard which is DVD-led and CFR skills will be assessed within this module of the course. Course participants will have their FAR skills assessed at the end of the course and will be required to complete a short multiple choice exam paper.



How long does the FAR course take to complete?

The duration of a First Aid Response course incorporating the CFR Community standard and assessment shall be no less than 18 contact hours, averaging 6 hours per day (excluding breaks).



Can Order of Malta Ireland deliver FAR courses?

Yes, as a PHECC Recognised Institution we can deliver FAR courses. In fact, we currently deliver PHECC courses up to and including the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) standard.



Who can deliver FAR training?

Only trainers who have a valid FAR Instructor certificate issued by a PHECC Recognised Institution such as Order of Malta Ireland. We have hundreds of trainers around the country qualified to deliver FAR training courses for Order of Malta Ireland.



What if I have just completed or am currently attending a QQI Level 5 Occupational First Aid Course?

Don’t worry, the HSA will recognise training and assessment relating to QQI’s Level 5 OFA (5N1207) that took place up to 31 May 2018. That recognition will be for a 2 year period. Refresher certificates issued by recognised training providers up to 31 May 2018 will also be recognised by the HSA for a 2 year period.



What’s the difference between the two courses?


OFA QQI Level 5 First Aid Response
Duration 3 Days (24 Hours) 3 Days (18 Hours)
Student : Instructor Ratio 10:1 6:1 (for practical skills)
Certification Training Provider Certificate

QQI Certificate

PHECC FAR Certificate
Student PPS number and date of birth required? Yes No
Assessment Short Answer Question Paper

3 x Skills Assessments

Multiple Choice Question Paper

2 x Skills Assessments

Pass Mark 50% 80%



Do I still need to attend for Refresher Training?

Yes, there will still be a requirement to attend refresher training every two years. The duration of the FAR recertification course is 12 hours or 2 days.



Can I still attend the 1-Day Occupational First Aid Refresher Course once I am within the permitted time-frame?

Yes, but only until the 31st of May 2018. Beyond this date you will have to attend the First Aid Response Refresher course but only if you are within the 2 year limit.



What if my Occupational First Aid certificate has passed its expiry date?

You have a 90 day grace period from the expiry date on your training certificate to attend the 1-Day Occupational First Aid Refresher course (up to 31st May 2018). If you have exceeded this period then you must attend First Aid Response course.



What do the changes mean for existing OFA instructors?

Existing OFA instructors on the OFAAA register prior to 31st October 2016 can continue for the present to deliver QQI OFA learner training during the transition to PHECC FAR. The Health & Safety Authority (HSA) is advising that existing OFA instructors if they have not already done so, should become familiar with the PHECC FAR standard and instructor requirements and apply to a PHECC FAR Instructor recognised institution (RI) to become a FAR instructor by recognition of prior learning (RPL).



How do I become a FAR instructor if I am currently an OFA Instructor?

Existing OFA instructors may apply to have their qualifications individually assessed by a participating PHECC recognised institution, in accordance with their recognition of prior learning (RPL) policy and procedures. Recognised institutions may reserve the right to refuse RPL applications.



How will the FAR Instructor certification by RPL work?

First Aid Response Instructor certification by RPL should include at a minimum:

a) Verification of the OFA instructor certificate (FETAC/QQI award) and CFR instructor certificate

b) Assessment of CFR instructor and First Aid Response instructor skills/competencies by a First Aid Response instructor trainer using standard evaluation forms prepared by the institution.

c) Provision of clinical updates as necessary i.e. PHECC CPGs at CFR and First Aid Response level.

d) A FAR MCQ exam.


OFA instructors who choose this route must be mindful that there are separate mandatory requirement for retaining both OFA instructor and First Aid Response instructor (also CFR instructor) certification from two distinct certification/ accreditation systems (Fetac/QQI and PHECC).




How will I be able to deliver FAR Training and issue certificates as a sole trader?

There are 2 options available to you:


a. Join an existing PHECC Recognised Institution as a member of their FAR instructor faculty

b. Apply to PHECC to become a Recognised Institution and obtain course approval for FAR


If you choose the first option, you will be required to register with a PHECC Recognised Institution, pre-register your FAR courses and submit the course results to the same institution for processing of FAR certificates. You will be subject to the quality control policies and procedures of the Recognised Institution which will include audit and monitoring.



What if I am not an OFA Instructor but would like to become a FAR Instructor?

Attend a 2-Day FAR Instructor course at a participating PHECC Recognised Institution. The course will include tuition in instructional methods and a period of supervised teaching practice. The period of supervised teaching practice is not specified and may be extended until the specific learning outcomes are achieved. The typical pathway is to assist on the first course, part teach the second and deliver a third independently while being monitored.


Entry Criteria:

a) Hold certification in First Aid Response or evidence of PHECC practitioner registration.

b) Hold valid CFR instructor certification and this must be maintained



2. First Aid for Early Years Service Providers & Staff


What is the requirement for a service regarding First Aid Training?


A person trained in “first aid for children” is required to be available to the children at all times. Currently there is no accredited paediatric first aid course. Where a person has undertaken training in paediatric/first aid for children and has supporting documentation this is acceptable.


How can staff be sure that the training they are undertaking is up to standard?


There is no accredited first aid course specifically for use with children and it has been the practice for staff in early years services to undertake training that has been adapted to take account of paediatric emergencies. There is no suggestion that this training has been below standard. However, because the training courses are not accredited, there has been no guarantee of quality. The DCYA recommends that early years staff who are availing of first aid training for the first time should undertake the First Aid Response (FAR) training from a training provider – also known as a “recognised institution” – approved by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC). The FAR Standard, which was developed by PHECC, offers appropriate training to individuals who require a first aid skill set for both adults and children. In addition to setting the standard, PHECC is responsible for approving organisations to become PHECC-recognised institutions to deliver the training. This means that the quality of the training delivered by these organisations and their instructors is approved by PHECC.


I have just completed first Aid training which was not the accredited FAR course and I
would not normally be required to update for 2 years. Do I need to undertake another first
aid course?


When your certification is due for renewal it is recommended that you undertake your first aid refresher course with an instructor who is approved by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council. This instructor will assess your first aid skills and will advise you whether you require additional training.


How often does the First Aid Response certification need to be refreshed?

Every 2 years.


How long is the Refresher Course?

2 Days


The owner or manager has to have Occupational First Aid as they were responsible for
their employees. Does Occupational First Aid include first Aid for Children?

The Health & Safety Authority now recognises the PHECC First Aid Response (FAR) training course as meeting the needs of Occupational First Aid. The FAR course offers appropriate training to individuals who require a first aid skill set for both adults and children.


Will I be required to have a second person trained in first aid to stay on the premises when
I am away?

Yes, a person trained in first aid for children must at all times be available to the children attending the service.


How many first aid boxes does a service require?

There should be sufficient first aid requisites in the service for the number of children attending. There should be at least one first aid box on the premises and one available for outings where outings from the service are undertaken. The first aid box should be clearly identifiable. Medicines, creams or ointments should not be stored in the first aid box as they may contaminate the items and create a risk of infection.


Is it necessary to have written consent from a parent in order for the registered provider
to administer first aid to a child?

Not according to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. The purpose of first aid training is to preserve life, protect from further harm, prevent worsening of condition, and provide relief and reassurances. It does not replace medical treatment. Therefore First Aid treatment is in keeping with a provider’s duty to care, and to take all reasonable measures to ensure the health, safety and welfare of children. It would be deemed negligent if staff were to refuse to administer first aid.