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Hospitality industry issued with first aid challenge

Hospitality industry issued with first aid challenge

Top chef Andrew Turner is pledging his support for leading first aid charity St John Ambulance in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of life saving knowledge in the hospitality industry. Andrew is encouraging the sector to make first aid a priority, not just as a legal tick box exercise, but as an act of responsibility to protect staff and customers.

St John Ambulance research shows that 150,000 people die every year when first aid could have given them the chance to live*. That’s equal to the number of people who die from cancer each year – or equivalent to just under 10% of the hospitality industry’s workforce**.

Andrew is working with the charity to show the hospitality industry how simple and effective it is to encourage large numbers of people to learn first aid, so they can be the difference between life and death.

First aid training for all

Andrew said: “I believe that first aid training should be something that is offered to all employees, whether they are in the kitchen, front of house or departments within the establishment. With these workers coming into contact with thousands of people every day, from customers and colleagues, to suppliers and contractors, it is vital for them to know how to respond in an emergency. It’s also important to recognise that it’s a skill that you may need to use on members of your family, friends or community so it doesn’t just benefit the work environment.”

Andrew first realised the importance of first aid when someone suffered a heart attack while he was chef at Pennyhill Park restaurant in Surrey five years ago. “The whole experience was a shocking reminder of how important it is to have basic first aid training,” recalled Andrew. “Knowledge of first aid can be the difference between life and death, but it is also essential to make sure staff and customers are protected and able to receive the best possible treatment for an injury or health problem, such as allergic reactions, or trips and falls.”

Since the experience at Pennyhill Park, Andrew has done an HSE approved First Aid at Work course and a first aid refresher course to make sure that he feels confident in first aid. This also goes for his staff, who are actively encouraged to learn first aid and take regular refresher courses.

Sue Killen, CEO St John Ambulance said: “We are delighted to have Andrew on board as an advocate for the importance of first aid in the hospitality industry. Too many people die needlessly every year when first aid could have given them the chance to live. With Andrew’s help we hope to encourage restaurants, hotels and bars to put first aid higher on their health and safety agendas.”

Take action

St John Ambulance offers a number of first aid training courses for businesses and can offer in-house training if needed. It’s recommended that those working in the catering industry as front of house staff should take a one day Emergency First Aid at Work course and kitchen staff, the three-day First Aid at Work course. To find out more about first aid courses, call 08700 10 49 50 or visit

* Using death registration data from the Office of National Statistics, 2008

** According to the British Hospitality Association, the UK hospitality and catering industry employs a workforce of 1.7 million people. The 150,000 deaths is equivalent to just under 10% of this workforce.

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