Accidents happen in every type of workplace, so a first-aid kit must be available. All employees should know where the first-aid kit is located to act quickly in an emergency.
You must ensure that your workplace’s first-aid kit contains all the necessary supplies. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends guidelines regarding what to include in a workplace first-aid kit.
Why Is a First-Aid Kit Important in the Workplace?
A first-aid kit can save lives in the workplace. If someone gets in a workplace accident, prompt care with the right supplies can make the difference between minimal harm and serious injury.
Every employee should be trained on how to use the first-aid kit and know exactly where a first-aid kit is to ensure they can locate it quickly in an emergency.
Most workplaces incorporate the first-aid kit into general safety training. In this training, employers can also cover steps to mitigate workplace accidents, thereby reducing preventable injuries. A coworker’s quick action before medical professionals arrive could save their colleague’s life or severely reduce the damage from an accident.
One study in Injury Prevention estimated that workplace injuries resulted in an average of 11 lost workdays per employee in the U.S. Prompt first aid could improve injury outcomes, reducing employee recovery times and costing employers less in the long run.
All employees have the right to a safe workplace. Thanks to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, workers have protection from being killed or otherwise harmed at work. In addition, the federal government regulates specific health and safety standards to keep employees safe at work.
OSHA requires that businesses have a stocked first-aid kit that meets OSHA’s minimum requirements when a medical facility is not on the premises.
Although OSHA doesn’t mandate exactly what must be included in a workplace first-aid kit, it does recommend certain supplies that should be included at a minimum. The only requirement is that adequate first-aid supplies are accessible. OSHA also requires that businesses keep precise records on accidents and injuries in the workplace, provided the company has more than 10 employees. Talk to an OSHA representative to make sure your business is compliant.
List of Items for a Workplace First-Aid Kit
These are the recommended items for a workplace first-aid kit:
Directions for administering first aid and calling for emergency medical assistance.
burn dressing (gel-soaked).
medical exam gloves.
The amount of each item in your first-aid kit will depend on the number of people in your workplace. Make sure you have an adequate number of each supply to accommodate all your employees.
Customize Your Workplace First-Aid Kit
Consider the environment and risks of your workplace, and customize your first-aid kit accordingly. For example, a workplace with a higher risk for electrical fires should have more burn pads and ointment in its first-aid kit.
You might want to include antihistamine medication and an epinephrine pen in your first-aid kit to address severe allergies. Also, you could include glucose tablets or gels to treat people with diabetes. The American Red Cross recommends that workplaces add an oral thermometer to their first-aid kits and hydrocortisone ointment packets.
Get Help With Your First-Aid Supply Management
With so much to manage in your business already, it can feel like a lot to consider what should be in your workplace first-aid kit and ensure you meet federal and industry standards. At Alsco, we offer worry-free first-aid kit services, so you can focus on the other aspects of running your business.
For a low weekly rate, we ensure your first-aid cabinet is fully stocked, properly placed and compliant with workplace standards for OSHA and the American National Standards Institute. We organize your first-aid cabinet, so it logistically makes sense, and all supplies are easy to access in an emergency.
We conduct regular maintenance, so your sterile supplies are never expired or damaged. With our service, you don’t have to worry if you are prepared for an emergency. We’ll ensure you’re covered.
Anatomy of a First Aid Kit. American Red Cross.
Average Lost Work Productivity Due to Non-Fatal Injuries by Type in the USA. (April 2021). Injury Prevention.
Does the Law Require a First Aid Kit in a Workplace? Houston Chronicle.
Must-Haves for Your First Aid Kit. (May 2021). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Workers’ Rights. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration.