First Aid Kits
First aid kits are your first line of defense - stock them well
Have you ever rummaged through a first aid kit in search of a bandage or maybe some antiseptic, only to discover the item you need isn't there? A poorly stocked first aid kit in the workplace could pose real danger to an injured employee.
First aid kits are an essential part of any occupational health and safety emergency preparedness plan. OSHA requires that employers supply, maintain and make readily available first aid kits as part of their workplace safety plan.
The American Red Cross suggests the following items for all generic first aid kits:
- activated charcoal (use only if instructed by Poison Control Center)
- adhesive tape
- antiseptic ointment
- band-aids (assorted sizes)
- cold pack
- disposable gloves
- gauze pads and roller gauze (assorted sizes)
- hand sanitizer
- plastic bags
- scissors and tweezers
- small flashlight and extra batteries
- syrup of ipecac (use only if instructed by Poison Control Center)
- triangular bandage.
Industry-specific first aid kits
Depending on your industry, additional mandatory safety equipment may exist for your first aid kits. For example, OSHA states that splints and resuscitation equipment are mandatory in first aid kits for the logging industry.
If workers in your field could likely be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials, OSHA requires that employers include the following personal protective equipment (PPE) in workplace first aid kits:
Quantity as well as quality
Even if your first aid kits are appropriately stocked, if you don't have enough kits readily available, workers will still be at risk. Know the minimum number required in a certain work area, and make sure the first aid kits are easy to access.
To get up to speed on appropriate first aid kits, you should
- check in with your local fire, rescue and emergency response providers
- refer to OSHA's latest specific guidelines for first aid kits required in your industry.