Joint HSA/PHECC statement regarding the Transition of Occupational First Aid to FAR

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) are presently in the process of transitioning from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Occupational First Aid (OFA) learner training standard to PHECC’s First Aid Response (FAR), as the recognised standard meeting the requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007). The HSA is in communication with both QQI and PHECC on the transition.

The main actions and information points are as follows:

  1. The Occupational First Aid Assessment Agent (OFAAA) which was appointed by the HSA will cease operations on 31st October 2016.

  2. From 1st November 2016, the HSA will recognise both QQI OFA and PHECC FAR learner certificates as meeting the needs of occupational first aid.

  3. Dual recognition of learner certificates will continue for a defined period. Eventually at a date to be agreed between HSA, QQI and PHECC, QQI OFA will no longer be recognised by the HSA. PHECC’s FAR will then be the only recognised qualification.

  4. OFA training organisations currently listed with OFAAA seeking to become PHECC Recognised Institutions (RI) for delivering the FAR (inclusive of CFR) and FAR instructors courses are encouraged to apply to PHECC.  Refer to PHECC application information to become a recognised institution.  Click here for the PHECC webpage.

  5. Existing OFA instructors will be transitioned across to become FAR instructors by a process of recognition of prior learning (RPL).

  6. Any existing OFA instructor seeking to become a FAR Instructor with a PHECC Recognised Institution is advised to review the PHECC listing and contact the RI directly. Click here for the webpage of PHECC Recognised Institutions

  7. Those OFA instructors whose existing 5 year certification is due to lapse within the next 3 months will receive priority in the RPL process. A 3 months grace period is currently allowed by the HSA for instructors whose certification lapses on 31st October 2016.  

  8. Other OFA instructors will be transitioned across as directed by PHECC.

  9. QQI OFA learner certificates for the October 2016 period will be sent out by OFAAA before 31st October 2016.

  10. The next QQI learner certification period is December 2016 and learner certificates for this period will be issued by QQI in the first week of January 2017. OFA training providers who have direct access to QQI for learner certification should continue to use this facility. 

  11. The HSA is presently making arrangements in relation to learner certification for OFA training providers who up to now have used OFAAA. These training providers will be informed of the arrangements shortly.

  12. OFA training providers (both organisations and individuals) will be kept informed of developments by email from the HSA and announcements on our respective websites and

  13. Any new applications dating from 1st November 2016 from organisations seeking to provide OFA training courses should apply to PHECC for Recognised Institution (RI) status. Refer to PHECC application information to become an RI. Click here for the PHECC webpage.  

  14. Any new application from an individual seeking to become an OFA instructor should review the PHECC FAR Education and Training Standards and review the webpage of PHECC Recognised Institutions.

For further information please email