The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates that every business must have a minimum number and type of first aid supplies for their first aid kits. Beyond that baseline, OSHA also requires that other first aid supplies be on hand at every workplace based on the nature of the facility’s industry and the proportional risk level. At construction sites, for example, the extent of the required first aid supplies is much greater than in an office building. Businesses that do not have the required first aid supplies are considered out of OSHA compliance and subject to warnings and fines. Even a company having its first aid kits too far away for employees to readily access in case of emergency would be in danger of noncompliance. To know what your facility’s first aid kit requirements are, consider what kinds of hazard incidents could be reasonably expected to happen in your workplace based on past precedent and industry standards. This will dictate the appropriate supplies that OSHA expects you to keep on hand.
First Aid Kit Preparation
OSHA’s definition of first aid is important to note. It can be anything from using bandages to cover a wound to removing intrusive items from the eye with a cotton swab or even giving tetanus immunizations. Of course, not every workplace will have all these issues, but OSHA expects management to be ready for anything that might reasonably happen to a workplace’s employees.
These are some factors to consider when stocking your first aid kit:
What kinds of injuries usually happen at your workplace? Carry out a risk assessment and create a workplace-specific supply list for your first aid items.
How long would an emergency medical response take to reach your facility during crucial hours? This is when your facility is at its busiest and when there is the fewest number of people on hand to deal with an emergency.
What kind of supplies might be needed in an emergency? Your first aid kit must have documentation (both inside and outside the kit) that details the contents and the proper use of the supplies. This should be communicated to your employees regularly and includes workplace-specific training.
OSHA First Aid Kit Requirements
What are the minimum supplies you need for your first aid kit requirements to comply with OSHA regulations? Here is a complete list:
A box of adhesive bandages.
Two 8 × 10-inch gauze pads.
A set of standard-sized gauze pads (4 × 4 inches).
A package of gauze roller bandages, at least 2 inches wide.
Two triangular bandages.
Moistened towelettes to clean wounds.
Pocket masks, resuscitation bag or another form of resuscitation equipment.
Instructions for how to request emergency assistance, such as facility-specific information to provide during a 911 call.
Additional items that are not required but advisable include the following:
An automated external defibrillator.
A breathing barrier.
A gel-soaked burn dressing.
A cold pack.
Eye covering with a working means of attachment, such as a strap.
A first aid guide.
A sterile pad.
A trauma pad.
OSHA does not require specific first aid kits for a given industry. Although they state that “adequate supplies should be readily available,” the idea is that the on-hand kits contain items that are as general as possible and capable of addressing most injuries that can occur in a workplace. Anything beyond that should be handled with an immediate 911 call while properly using the items in the on-site kit for damage control. Placing Kits & Replacing Items For large worksites with many employees in different places, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide additional first aid kids, other supplies in the first aid kits or both. A single first aid kit is permissible for a worksite with three employees or fewer. What should you do when the items in the kit expire? Expired first aid items violate OSHA’s first aid practices, so you should keep a record of the purchase date of individual items and when they expire. You should also track the use of items so you can buy replacements before you run out. If you don’t, you may be without the necessary items when an emergency inevitably happens. First Aid Services At Alsco, we know how important first aid is for keeping your employees and customers safe. Ask us how we can ensure that the first aid cabinets at your facility are fully stocked and up to OSHA and ANSI/ISEA requirements.
1910.266 App A - First-aid Kits (Mandatory). Occupational Safety and Health Administration.