It is not unusual for someone to fall sick or even get injured while at work. If this happens, then providing effective and immediate first aid can reduce the severity of that illness or injury. And at times, it could mean the difference between life and death. Which is why every workplace should keep a first aid kit handy at all times.
So, how do you put a workplace first aid kit together? Here are a few guidelines:
While there are some items that will be common in all first aid kits, there are many that need to be work specific. So, before you just put together a basic first aid kit, you need to consider these factors:
- The kind of work that is carried out at your workplace
- The types of hazards faced
- The location of your workplace
- The size of your workplace
- The number as well as composition of people at your workplace. This includes employees, contractors, volunteers, visitors and so on.
When you have done a complete risk assessment, you will know what types of medical items need to be stocked in your workplace first aid kits.
The Need for a First Aid Room
By the time you complete your risk assessment, you will also know whether you require a first aid room along with a first aid kit. For example, if you work in a remote area where the type of work is dangerous, you might need to have a medical room where the more serious injuries can be treated before professional medical help arrives.
The Need for a First Aider
Every workplace should have a trainer first aider. And once again, depending on the nature of work, you might need a first aider with more advanced training or a specific kind of training to deliver the required first aid at your workplace.
You will also need to consider how many first aiders you should have. Usually, a remote, high-risk workplace should have 1 first aider for every 10 workers. A high-risk but easily accessible workplace should have 1 first aider for every 25 workers, and a low-risk workplace should have a first aider for every 50 workers.
Location of First Aid Kits
Your first aid kits should be placed strategically in those locations where these is higher risk of injury or illness (such as a construction site or a research lab). These kits should also be placed in all company vehicles if employees are expected to travel as a part of their work.
Contents of Workplace First Aid Kits
A first aid kit should contain the essentials such as:
- Small, medium and large gauze dressings and wipes
- Small, medium and large sterile bandages
- Safety pins
- Adhesive tape
- Disposable gloves
- Crepe bandages
- Burn dressings
- Cleansing wipes
- Sterile eye pads
- Eye bath or eye wash
Besides basic essentials, specialised medicines and items should be added to your first aid kit based on the kind of risk involved at your workplace.