First aid kits are a must-have item for just about every workplace, regardless of industry or threats. Despite PPE and an abundance of caution, accidents can still happen that lead to injuries and illnesses. A first aid kit, at least one person that knows how to administer first aid, and workplace requirements can help avoid major mishaps. Start with the OSHA or equivalent standards and work from there to put together your kit.
General Workplace Requirements
There isn’t a blanket answer for what should go in a first aid kit or how medical personnel should be trained because each workplace and industry is unique. OSHA does lay out general industry employer responsibilities and first aid guidelines in their 29 CFR 1910.151 standard.
- Medical personnel should be readily available on-site for advice and consultation;
- People on the site need to be trained in first aid;
- First aid supplies must be readily available (able to be reached within four minutes);
- Emergency drenching and flushing stations must be present when the eyes or body are exposed to corrosive materials.
First Aid Kit Requirements
OSHA doesn’t have strict requirements for what should be in a first aid kit simply because there are so many hazards that would be faced on a job that requires treatments from bandages, burn care to immunizations. Each worksite should have a designated person whose responsibility is choosing what goes into the kit and maintaining that kit.
ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015 has these recommendations for stocking and restocking a general industry kit, along with a general first aid guide:
- Adhesive bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Antibiotics and antiseptics
- Breathing barriers
- Gel-soaked burn dressings and treatments
- Cold packs
- Eye coverings
- Eye and skin wash
- Hand sanitizer and/or skin wash
- Exam gloves
- Roller bandages in two and four-inch sizes
- Sterile pads
- Trauma pads
- Triangular bandages
Other items that you may want to include are eyewash stations and skin protection products such as sunscreen and/or insect repellent — but keep in mind the time and distance requirements mentioned above. Check your company procedures and insurance company to see if you can provide over-the-counter medicines. If you can, they need to be in single-dose, tamper-evident, and labeled packaging, and they shouldn’t contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. The kit should be in an accessible area, which means no traveling through many doors, hallways, or stairways to access it (there are also portable kits). Kits should be full and usable with contents that haven’t expired, and stored in a way that’s compatible with the work environment.
29 CFR 1910.151 does not specify any particular training program, level of expertise, or requirements for first aid training. However, more specific training requirements are laid out in standards that target specific industries due to the nature of their hazards.
Reference these standards for requirements beyond those of general industry:
- Permit-required confined spaces: 1910.146
- Commercial diving operations: 1910.410
- Logging operations: 1910.266, Appendix B
- Electric power: 1910.269
- Shipyards: 1915.87
- Construction: 1926
For all other industries, employers need to evaluate their first aid response and preparedness programs, the risks and tasks of the job, and the potential likelihood and severity of injuries at least annually.
First Aid Kits from PK Safety
You can find first aid kits on pksafety.com or we can also help customize first aid kits for your business. We can fill and configure the kits and other safety equipment to your specification, job site or work environment. For more information about any of our worksite safety products or to get started creating your perfect first aid kit, reach out to one of our safety experts online or by calling 800.829.9580.