By George Musson
No matter what environment you work in, from a construction site to an office, every first aid kit will be different. Every workplace will have a different amount of people to provide first aid provisions for and will have different risks to assess.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has published guidance on what might be useful or necessary, but actually it’s completely up to the responsible people in each workplace to decide based on the individual circumstances. They do offer advice on what should definitely not be in your kit though, and this includes drugs and medicines such as aspirin or paracetamol.
An office is generally a low risk place, so usually only requires a basic first aid kit. For example, a basic kit for around 10 people, in a low risk environment could include:
- A first aid advice leaflet
- 20 assorted sterile plasters (should be individually wrapped)
- 2 sterile eye pads
- 4 triangular bandages (should be individually wrapped)
- 6 safety pins
- 2 large sterile wound dressings
- 6 medium sterile wound dressings
- 4 small sterile wound dressings
- A box of disposable gloves
- 1 roll of micropore medical tape
- Antiseptic wipes
Please bear in that this is only a suggestion and that there are plenty of other items that might be appropriate in your workplace and that the more people you have, the more first aid kits you will need. For instance, if you have a kettle or oven, some minor burns treatments might be useful, or you might be decide to include cold compression packs in case you bump your head or sprain your ankle.
One of the most important things about a first aid kit is that you keep it in an easily accessible place that everyone knows about and in a clearly marked container. Even if you’re first aid risk assessment doesn’t say you need a first aider, you should still have an appointed person who will take charge of the first aid kit and who can respond accordingly in an emergency. It will be the responsibility of this person to keep your first aid kit properly stocked, filled, clean and up to date.
It’s always advisable to have at least one person on your staff that can provide emergency first aid, regardless of what your risk assessment says as you never know when you, or someone you work with, could fall ill or have an accident, even in a seemingly low risk environment.
This post was written on behalf of Health and Safety Training Ltd who are one of the leading UK experts in emergency first aid courses and first aid for the workplace.