Press Kit

87% of Australian businesses are failing first aid

New research reveals millions of employees at risk due to lack of first aid awareness

Only 13 per cent of Australian workplaces know how to keep their employees safe according to new research released today by leading provider of first aid services and training, St John Ambulance Australia.

St John’s research found:

  • The majority of Australian employers (65%) are unaware of Safe Work Australia’s new Code of Practice.
  • Only 48 per cent of Australian workplaces offer accredited first aid training to their employees.
  • Less than half of workplaces have appropriate workplace first aid resources (e.g. first aid kits and signage).
  • Only 24 per cent of employees have participated in first aid procedures training or first aid drills.

Safe Work Australia’s new Code is currently being rolled out across most States and Territories .

St John Ambulance Australia CEO, Peter LeCornu, said the new Code will change first aid responsibilities for Australian businesses.

“Australian workplaces are in a volatile situation and employers need to act now to reduce the risk to their employees, customers and ultimately their businesses,” he said. “The St John research shows that a serious first aid knowledge gap exists.”

The research report, titled First Aid Readiness in the Australian Workplace, was undertaken by St John to assist employers in understanding what they need to do to become first aid compliant, and the results are alarming.


St John examined first aid readiness across a variety of industries including the education, retail and hospitality sectors. Workplaces in each state and territory were assessed.

  • Education was the best performing industry overall, but even so only 21.5 per cent of education workplaces are fully compliant with the new Code.
  • Only ten per cent of hospitality workplaces are compliant, and just six per cent of retail workplaces.
  • VIC (15.4 per cent) and NSW/ACT (14.3 per cent) have the highest levels of first aid readiness, but still fewer than one in six workplaces are meeting the guidelines set out by the new Code.
  • WA has the lowest level of first aid readiness (8.8 per cent) with less than one in ten workplaces meeting the guidelines set out by the new Code.


Knoxfield-based toolmaking business Metal Form Group knows all too well the importance of having first aid trained staff available to respond. In March 2011 toolmaker Michael Chua’s
heart stopped beating while he was working in the organisation’s warehouse. Three first aid trained colleagues were able to perform CPR on Mr Chua until paramedics arrived, saving his life.

Metal Form Group HR Manager Stefanie Palermo said, “It was a real wake up call. Thankfully we were aware of our first aid obligations, or we would have lost an employee and faced possible prosecution. We’ve since trained additional staff and purchased a defibrillator.”


“Administering first aid in the first five minutes after an incident can dramatically change the outcome. Businesses need to be prepared to save a life and empower their employees with the confidence to act,” said Mr LeCornu.

“It is not just a matter of buying a first aid kit and assuming staff will know what to do. Every employer should be striving for best practice when it comes to first aid and St John recommends conducting an initial first aid risk assessment evaluation to proactively ensure your workplace is compliant,” he concluded.

Businesses and employees wanting to find out more about workplace obligations and first aid readiness should contact St John Ambulance Australia on 1300 360 455 or visit

Media enquiries:
Natalie Arnull / Tabitha Mathew
Keep Left on behalf of St John Ambulance Australia
T: 03 9268 7800