EMPLOYERS should recognise first aid as a vital element of their corporate social responsibility policy, according to St John Ambulance in Cambridgeshire.

EMPLOYERS should recognise first aid as a vital element of their corporate social responsibility policy, according to St John Ambulance in Cambridgeshire.

The charity says learning first aid skills is not just a legal tick-box, but a way of reducing the number of unnecessary deaths and injuries.

SJA recently found that each year up to 150,000 people die in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live. Previously, the magnitude of the problem had not been known.

In response, St John Ambulance is challenging businesses in Cambridgeshire to take action by providing first aid training to as many employees as possible as part of their corporate social responsibilities or as an employee benefit.

"Many organisations have CSR policies or community initiatives that tackle problems we face as a society, such as making their practices more sustainable," said St John Ambulance regional marketing manager Philip Cheung.

"It's encouraging that businesses want to prevent long-term effects on our environment, but by also training more people in first aid they can give staff the ability to make an immediate difference between a life saved and a life lost.

"Companies are already required to train a minimum number of staff in first aid. We are asking them to go further and train as many employees as possible, or at least help spread basic first aid knowledge within the workplace.

"We can reduce the number of people dying needlessly, while employees feel empowered and cared for and recognise the positive contribution their employer is making.

"Many businesses offer employees gym memberships or language lessons, but what could be more important that equipping your workforce with the skills to save a life?"

Research by the charity found that nearly two thirds of employees would like first aid training at work, further justifying the argument that training should be offered as an employee benefit.

INFORMATION: For a free needs assessment or to book a first aid course, call 08447 704801, text 'needs' to 88008 or visit sja.org.uk