Update on PHECC Responder level recertification (21/01/2021)

Due to the recent Government restrictions and the continuing challenges posed by Covid-19, please see updated PHECC Council advisory regarding FAR Responder Certification.


PHECC is the regulator responsible for ensuring the standards and quality of the First Aid Responder (FAR) course content, the examinations and the Recognised Institutions and Approved Training Institutions (RIs and ATIs) who are authorised, by PHECC to deliver the education courses. The PHECC FAR course is the only first aid certificate recognised by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

Responsibility for delivering PHECC courses is delegated to Recognised Institutions and Approved Training Institutions. A list of RI/ATIs that are recognised by PHECC to deliver PHECC courses can be found here.

As a healthcare regulator, PHECC are not in a position to approve or authorise RI/ATIs to open or not open during the current pandemic.  This decision should result solely from the RI/ATIs own risk assessment based on their ability to comply with government advice and guidelines. 

The appropriate authority to offer guidance in this area would be the Health & Safety Authority (HSA).

PHECC are very aware of the pressures that the current Covid-19 restrictions are placing on RI/ATIs who deliver PHECC responder level courses, and on organisations who are looking to access places on those courses for their staff.

PHECC acknowledged in March 2020 that if a Responders certification had lapsed, an RI/ATI may allow an extended grace period before a full course would be required to maintain FAR certification.

Council, at their meeting on January 21 2021, further advise that if a Responders certification has expired between March 2020 and July 31st 2021, a Responder may complete the refresher course to maintain certification.

PHECC have confirmed that they are not in a position to extend the expiry date on FAR certificates, which certifies a minimum level of competence in First Aid Response and neither are PHECC recognised RI/ATIs.

The Regulatory requirements to hold FAR certification does not originate from PHECC, it comes from the requirements of HSA, Tusla and other institutions.

PHECC have been in consultation with these institutions regarding their requirement for individuals to hold in date FAR certificates.

PHECC are pleased to be able to report that both HSA and Tusla are taking a very pragmatic approach to this requirement, as detailed in their respective websites.

The Health and Safety Authority acknowledge that the First Aid Regulations require employers, based on a risk assessment, to have sufficient first aid equipment and trained first aiders in the workplace. The regulations do not specify the training standard, duration of training and retraining and recertification periods but the Authority will continue to recognise first aid responders existing FAR certification during the Covid 19 pandemic while they wait to be recertified. Those first aiders can continue to administer first aid in the workplace.

Please see the HSA website for further information or contact them directly.

Tusla acknowledge due to the ongoing pandemic, Tusla and Dept of Children and Youth Affairs have agreed to extend the timeframe to meet this requirement to the end of February 2021. In addition, for those staff that already have FAR certification which has now expired or is due to expire – their certificates will remain valid until courses are up and running again.

Please see the Tusla website for further information or contact them directly.

PHECC will continue to engage with the RIs and ATIs and with the HSA and Tusla in regard to the requirement for, and provision of PHECC FAR education courses and certification and will continue to keep you up to date during these difficult times.