What this article will cover:
Immediate medical attention could be the difference between life or death in many cases. Having a first aid kit easily accessible is a helpful way to ensure that should an injury occur, you are prepared to offer medical assistance.
We’ll explain the laws around providing a first-aid kit, what you might expect to find in one, and any additional equipment you might need.
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 (revised 2013) state that employers must provide ‘adequate and appropriate’ equipment to make sure that should their employees be injured, there is some sort of medical equipment available. These rules apply to every workplace, regardless of staff count or sector.
Depending on the risk present in your industry, different first-aid equipment may be needed. It is an employer’s responsibility to check whether it’s necessary to provide first aid training to your employees, how many first aid kits are sufficient for the workplace, or whether a dedicated first-aider is needed.
Although there is no legal duty to make first-aid provisions for any on-site guests, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strongly recommends that non-employees are included in any assessment, and necessary steps are put in place to keep them safe.
Equipment Inside A First Aid Kit
Every first aid kit will vary slightly, but it’s recommended to include at least a few items off of the following list:
- Plasters (individually wrapped) in a variety of different sizes and shapes
- Small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
- Bandages: triangular bandages and crêpe rolled bandages
- Safety pins
- Disposable sterile gloves
- Small tools: tweezers, scissors etc.
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- Sticky tape
- Creams: Skin rash cream, insect-bite / sting cream and antiseptic cream
- Painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen
- Antihistamine cream or tablets
- Distilled water for cleaning wounds
- Eye wash and eye bath, along with sterile eye dressings
For more information on what to include in a first aid kit, consult the NHS.
You may also want to include other items, depending on your industry. For example, if you work with substances / hot surfaces or naked flames on a regular basis, consider having a constant stock of some burn-healing kits. If your employees or site guests are likely to have allergic reactions, for example due to food or animals, consider adding some basic allergy equipment.
It’s recommended to have a first aid kit readily available, in case of emergencies. Include equipment like bandages and gloves, but also make sure to use specialist kit if needed.
If you need advice, Optimum Safety offers health and safety information and training.