First Aid Kits
The minimum level of first aid equipment you may need is a suitably stocked first aid container. You should provide at least one container for each workplace, although more may be needed on larger sites. Each kit should be stocked with a sufficient quantity of first aid materials suitable for the particular circumstances of your workplace. First aid containers should be easily accessible and preferably placed near to hand-washing facilities. They should be identified by a white cross on a green background.
First Aid Kit Maintenance
The contents of a first aid kit should be checked regularly and restocked soon after any use. Sufficient spare stock should be kept on site and expired items disposed of safely. First aid kits should only be stocked with items useful for giving first aid and should be protected from dust and damp. Your needs assessment may identify that you need additional materials and equipment e.g foil blankets, aprons or scissors for cutting clothing. These may be kept in the first aid container or stored separately. There may also be a need for protective equipment incase first aiders have to enter a dangerous atmosphere. Such items should be stored securely near the first aid container, in the treatment room or the hazardous area. If mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, sterile water or saline should be provided in sealed disposable containers.
Where staff have to be mobile during their working day, employers should consider providing travelling first aid kits. These can be fitted to business vehicles. You should also consider whether these employees should be trained in Emergency First Aid, particularly if they are involved in high hazard activities.
There is no mandatory list of items to be included in a first aid container. The decision on what to provide will be influenced by your first aid needs assessment, however,, where work activities involve low hazards, the minimum contents may include:
- a leaflet giving general advice on first aid
- individually wrapped, sterile plasters of assorted sizes
- sterile eye pads
- individually wrapped triangular bandages
- safety pins
- large sterile individually wrapped and unmedicated wound dressings
- medium-sized individually wrapped and unmedicated wound dressings
- disposable gloves
*Travelling first aid kits may also contain individually wrapped post cleansing wipes
First aid at work does not include giving tablets or medicines to treat illness. The only exception to this where aspirin is used with a casualty suspected of having a heart attack. This is in line with currently accepted practice. It is recommended that this is not stored in the first aid container.
Some employees may carry their own medication e.g an asthma inhaler. If an individual needs to take their own prescribed medication, the role of the first aider is limited to assisting them to do so and passing this information on to the Emergency Services.
Automated External Defibrillators
Where an employer decides to provide an AED in the workplace, those who may need to use it should be trained. This will ensure they have sufficient knowledge and confidence in its use. We can advise on the purchase of AED devices and offer training to individuals and businesses on how to use them in conjunction with CPR.