Do you have a first aid box but are unsure of what should go in it? Should you replace all of the items after use?
In an ideal world the contents of every first aid box would be different, designed specifically to match the hazards found in a first aid based risk assessment. A shortage of time and money doesn’t always make this possible, so many companies will choose to stock a selection of commonly used first aid items.
This is fine as long as you understand what the minimum stock requirements are, not all first aid kits are created equal! When considering your first aid kit contents you should refer to British Standard BS8599. This standard outlines the appropriate contents of a first aid kit based on the level of risk at your workplace.
By conducting a first aid needs assessment you will identify the size of first aid kit that’s required. Using the below table you can match your risk level to the number of employees in the area. Remember that all areas of your site need to have access to a first aid kit, your first aid needs assessment should identify the different areas and where the first aid kits should be located. A separate assessment of the required first aid kit should be done for each area.
After using the above table to identify the size of first aid kit that you an area requires, it’s time to purchase the kit making sure that it meets the BS8599 standard. Each type (size) of first aid kit has a specification of contents according to the British Standard. This can be seen below.
The Health and Safety Executive have their own suggestions for what should be inside an adequate first aid kit. They list:
- Individually wrapped sterile plasters
- Sterile eye pads
- Safety pins
- Individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
- Large sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings
- Disposable gloves
- A leaflet giving general guidance on first aid
If you use an item in your first aid kit, your kit will not be British Standard compliant until you have replaced that item. You should also consider when some of the items in your kit need replacing, some items such as sterile kits have expiry dates and should be replaced within these dates to be fit for purpose. If you’re unsure of when to replace items always check with the manufacturer.