Version: 1
Last Updated: January 2020 

Click here to download this RLSS UK Guidance Statement

Qualifications created by RLSS UK include treating various medical conditions; they do not include administering general medication.

The Health and Safety Executive provide the following information:

Are first aiders allowed to give tablets and medication to casualties?

First aid at work does not include giving tablets or medicines to treat illness. The only exception is when aspirin is used when giving first aid to a casualty with a suspected heart attack, in accordance with currently accepted first-aid practice. It is recommended that tablets and medicines should not be kept in the first-aid box.

Some workers carry their own medication prescribed by their doctor (e.g., an inhaler for asthma). If an individual needs to take their own prescribed medication, the first aider's role is generally limited to helping them to do so and contacting the emergency services as appropriate. However, this does not apply to the administration of prescription-only medication specified in Schedule 19 of the Medicines Regulations 2012, where this is for the purpose of saving life in an emergency. Adrenaline 1:1000 up to 1 mg for intramuscular use in Anaphylaxis is an example.

Where a first aid needs assessment identifies that Schedule 19 medication may be required to be administered in an emergency, the employer should consider providing workplace first aiders with additional training in their use.


Heart Attack

As detailed in the HSE guidance, aspirin can be used when giving first aid to a casualty with a suspected heart attack, in accordance with currently accepted first-aid practice.


The Human Medicines Regulations 2012, section 19, details medications that can be used where the purpose is to save a life. Adrenaline for the treatment of Anaphylaxis is detailed as a medication that can be used. As detailed above, the HSE advise that the employer should consider providing additional training for the employee. RLSS UK would recommend that those who may be in the position to administer an adrenaline auto-injector complete an RLSS UK Qualifications Level 3 Basic Lifeguard Support and Management of Anaphylaxis qualification.


Changes to the First Aid guidelines in 2015 mean those with a duty of care can set up equipment (a spacer) and encourage and assist the casualty in using their prescribed medication.

Click here for other RLSS UK Guidance Statements