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 premises, although more may be needed on larger sites. Each kit should be stocked with enough 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. In the UK they should be identified by a white cross on a green background.
First Aid Kit Contents
There is no mandatory list of first aid kit contents, however the following items are suggested as a minimum. The decision on any extra items should be influenced by your first aid needs assessment, that is the level of risk and the number of staff/visitors you have. First aid kit ‘refills’ purchased in the UK, should meet HSE standards and will probably contain the following:
- a leaflet giving general advice on first aid
- disposable latex-free gloves
- sterile wound dressings, medium & large
- low-adherent dressing pads
- Burn dressing*
- individually wrapped, sterile plasters of assorted sizes
- sterile eye pads
- finger dressings
- individually wrapped triangular bandages
- conforming bandages
- hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- sterile wipes (must be antiseptic free for paediatric kits)
- saline / eye wash solution**
- safety pins
- resuscitation face shield
- foil blanket
*It is recommended that a ‘Burns First Aid Kit’ is available in any working kitchen.
** Certain environments e.g those using chemicals must have an eye wash station in addition to any first aid facilities.
First Aid Kit Maintenance
The contents of a first aid kit should be checked regularly and restocked as soon as possible after any use. Enough spare stock should be kept on site and expired items disposed of as they may no longer be sterile*. 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 eye wash solution or an AED. These may be stored separately. There may also be a need for personal protective equipment in case first aiders have to manage hazards. Such items should be stored securely near the first aid facilities and be easy to find. If mains tap water is not readily available, still bottled water could be used instead.
* Defibrillator (AED) pads will dry out and lose their adhesive after expiry.