Difference Between Occupational and Emergency First Aid?

Many people are unaware or do not know which first aid or CPR course they are required to have. Throughout Canada must customers have a handful of courses to select from with emergency first aid, standard and childcare first aid being the most popular. However, British Columbian’s have an added complication with the occupational first aid program developed by WorkSafe BC. This page will hopefully outline the difference between the basic first aid program offered through the Red Cross, Lifesaving Society and Heart and Stroke Foundation versus the occupational first aid program.

Occupational First Aid Program

The occupational first aid (OFA) program offers three main first aid training classes. The most popular and shortest is occupational first aid level 1 (OFA level 1). This course is extremely similar to emergency first aid. Both courses are 8 hours in length and cover almost identical topics. OFA level 1 covers a bit more administrative and workplace issues.  Certificate offered by both these programs are completely different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Contact your employer or school to determine which one you need because they rarely substitute for one another.

Occupational first aid level 2 (OFA level 2) is a unique course that is 36 hours in length. Its a one and only course that is difficult to compare to any other course.

Occupational first aid level 3 (OFA level 3) is also a very unique 72 hour course. People throughout Canada flock to BC to take this course. No confusing this course with any basic first aid program.

OFA level 1 Versus Emergency First Aid

This two first aid programs are the most similar with both taking 8 hours to complete and both being labelled “basic first aid”. Both courses have certificates that last for 3 years and each class includes basic CPR training. Contact your employer, don’t ask us which one you need. If you have the option to choose I would recommend emergency first aid because it is likely cheaper and re-certifying courses are available when you need to renew in the future.

All in all it doesn’t matter which course you take because both courses provide exceptional first aid and CPR training.


4 Responses to “Difference Between Occupational and Emergency First Aid?”

  1. Toni January 28, 2015 at 2:35 am #

    My OFA 1 course was two days long.

    • vanfirstaid February 10, 2015 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Toni, where did you take your OFA 1 course?

  2. Doria July 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    I am trained in Standard First Aid in Ontario. Is there any way to get that transferred to a OFA certification.

    • vanfirstaid August 9, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

      Unfortunately, the only way to get OFA certification is by taking a OFA course. Standard first aid is not transferable in any way to OFA level 1.

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