Workplace First Aid Kit: Having One Is a Legal Requirement
Having a first aid kit readily available at the workplace is a legal requirement. It must be well stocked and checked regularly by a competent person. Every major area, each each floor, each section, should have a first aid kit. Everyone should know where it is, and it should never be locked away. There are different sizes depending on the number of employees in that area. You should contact your local Workplace Safety agency to see if there are any special consideration, or even legal requirements, based on the type of work that your organization is involved in.
These are some things to consider in work site first aid kit:
- Non-latex gloves (several pairs): to reduce the chance of touching bodily fluids. It is important for the gloves to be non-latex because about 10% of the population is allergic to latex.
- Face shields for rescue breathing: to reduce the chance of disease transmission. If you will have a first aid oxygen tank then it’s important to get a face shield that has an O2 attachment valve.
- Triangular bandages, about 4-6: used to tie dressing, to create slings, or to tie splints together. These should never be used to apply tourniquets.
- Sterile dressings of various sizes: used to control bleeding, or to cover a wound to keep it clean.
- Safety pins: used to pin dressing in place.
- Adhesive tape: to tape things together.
- Scissors: for cutting clothing to treat minor injuries.
- Small sugar packs: for treating hypoglycemic or diabetes.
- Blanket: to treat for shock. There are some very compact options available. These are called emergency blankets or space blankets.
Special considerations (keep in mind that proper training is needed to use these additional equipment):
- Splints of various sizes in situations where someone may suffer a broken bone on joint injury.
- Burn kit for burn accidents. This is usually more important in hazardous work environments.
- Water bottles/fountain for chemicals in the eyes. Obviously more important in hazardous work environments.
- Oxygen tank for people suffering from poor circulation. Proper training is needed to use supplemental oxygen.
- Defibrillator for dealing with cardiac arrest emergencies. These should be located in visible areas, never hidden or locked away.
- Do not keep any type of medication in a first aid kit. It is illegal for a company, or even for an individual, to give medication to anyone else. This includes even things common pain killers, flu medication, etc. The only exception is Aspirin for heart attack patients, but special training is needed for this.
- Do not keep ointments, alcohol swabs, etc in a first aid kit. Some people can be allergic, or the ointment may do more harm than good. Warm water and regular soap is the best way to clean a wound.