The minimum requirements for an OSHA-compliant first aid kit
Does your workplace have a first aid kit? Have you looked at it? In many offices, it’s likely the kit (if there is one) is outdated or half-empty. Maybe there are a few Band-Aids and some packets of antibiotic ointment, but not much else. While it might not seem like a big deal, failing to have adequate first aid supplies on hand could have serious safety consequences for employees.
The purpose of a first aid kit in the workplace
A first aid kit in the office is intended to treat a variety of different types of injuries and sudden illnesses, including cuts, burns, sprains and strains, and eye injuries. Of course, some workplaces have more inherent dangers that can cause more serious injuries, such as machinery, power tools or chemicals, but accidents can occur anywhere.
What should go in a first aid kit?
As a business owner or manager, it’s your job to ensure that your office has a first aid kit that meets the required standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has prepared a list of basic supplies every kit should have. There are also standards that should be met for different sizes and types of businesses.
According to OSHA, “The contents of the first-aid kit listed should be adequate for small worksites, consisting of approximately two to three employees. When larger operations or multiple operations are being conducted at the same location, additional first-aid kits should be provided at the work site or additional quantities of supplies should be included in the first-aid kits.”
A minimally OSHA-compliant first aid kit should include:
- Gauze pads (at least 4 x 4 inches)
- Two large gauze pads (at least 8 x 10 inches)
- A box of adhesive bandages (Band-Aids)
- One package of gauze roller bandage at least 2 inches wide
- Two triangular bandages
- A wound-cleaning agent such as sealed moistened towelettes
- At least one blanket
- Adhesive tape
- Latex gloves
- Resuscitation equipment such as a resuscitation bag, airway, or pocket mask
- Two elastic wraps
- A splint
- Directions for requesting emergency assistance
Some businesses or organizations might have need of an eyewash station if there is the chance of anyone coming into contact with chemicals or corrosive materials. These settings can include school science labs, manufacturing plants, paint supply stores, and other types of facilities. “Paragraph (c) of OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.151 requires that suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing be provided within the work area for immediate use if an employee’s eyes or body may be exposed to corrosive materials,” according to additional OSHA regulations.
It might also be a good idea to display posters with instructions for how to deal with First Aid, Choking, CPR, H1N1 Prevention, and Heat Stress, which are available from OSHA.
Are there different types of first aid kits?
Yes, there are different classifications for first aid kits: Class A and Class B. According to Safety Grainger, “Class A kits are designed to deal with the most common types of workplace injuries. Class B kit is designed with a broader range and quantity of supplies to deal with injuries in more complex or high-risk environments.”
First aid kits are further classified by their portability, ability to be mounted, resistance to water and corrosion, and impact resistance. They might also be typed according to whether the kit will be stored inside and remain mostly stationary, or whether it is kept outside or in conditions where it might sustain damage.
Maintaining your first aid kit
Once you have assembled a first aid kit, you can’t just forget about it. If you use or run out of any supplies, be sure to replace them. First aid kits should be inspected on a regular basis, making sure that they are fully stocked and that none of the contents with expiration dates have expired.
The safety or your employees is of utmost importance, and even a minor injury can consequences if not treated properly. Take precautions and make sure you have a well-stocked, OSHA-compliant first aid kit on hand in case of emergency.
For more information about American Heart Association-authorized training, including CPR, AED use, and First Aid, or to purchase an OSHA compliant first aid kit, connect with One Beat CPR online or at 954-321-5305.