Accidents can happen at any workplace, whether it’s an office, factory, or retail space, and at any time. When they do, it is essentail to provide assistance quickly which is why having a first aid kit with the right components is a must.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the necessary components of a first aid kit
Components of a Basic Workplace First Aid Kit
Having a properly stocked first aid kit is not just a legal requirement; it’s part of the fundamental responsibility to provide immediate care until professional help arrives.
When choosing a first aid kit for your workplace, it should meet the British Standard BS 8599-1.
Here’s what every workplace should include in their first aid kit.
All first aid kits should have standard components:
- Plasters, individually wrapped and different sizes
- Sterile eye pads
- Triangular bandages, individually wrapped and sterile
- Sterile gauze and dressings, in assorted sizes
- Adhesive tape
- Safety pins
- Tweezers and scissors
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Disposable sterile gloves to protect against contamination when handling bodily fluids or waste
- Face masks and eye protection for instances involving bodily fluids or potential airborne hazards
- A face shield for using when giving rescue breaths
- Disposable protective apron
- Hydrocortisone cream for insect bites and rashes
- Antiseptic wipes and ointment such as Savlon
- Instant cold packs for swelling or bruising
- Pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen)
- Allergy medication (antihistamines)
- Over-the-counter medications for common ailments
- A leaflet with general guidance about providing first aid for common emergencies
- Incident report forms for documenting accidents or injuries
- List of local emergency services and contact information
- Contact details for nearest hospitals or medical facilities
If applicable, include medications or medical supplies specific to employees with known health conditions (e.g., epinephrine for severe allergies).
Higher Risk Workplaces
Some workplaces such as those in the hospitality industry come with with increased hazards:
- Trips and falls (the most common injury in hospitality)
- Burns and scalds
- Cuts and lacerations from kitchen equipment
- Injuries from specialised machinery
- Chemical injuries such as burns or breathing difficulties from cleaning products.
- Electric shock injuries.
- Falls from height such as when using a stool or stepladder
- Head injuries due to items falling
- Manual handling injuries caused by lifting and moving heavy items such as furniture
So, in addition to the items in a basic first aid kit, additional items for a higher risk workplace might include:
- Foil blankets
- Eye bath
- A burn kit
- Larger dressings
- Large scissors
Checking and Replacing Items
Remember to check the first aid kit contents regularly.
Supplies can become damaged, ie if exposed to moisure or heat. Some items also have an expiry date which is often three to five years after manufacture.
Other items such as bandages and dressings dont usually have expiry dates but their wrapping may be opened or damaged in which case they are no longer sterile and need to be replaced.