Office First Aid Kits


Do you know where in the office your first aid kit is? Do you know what you should keep in it? This article explains everything and it could help save a life. Read more here.

first-aid-kit

Office First Aid Kit

Like many things in life which we see every day, first aid kits fall into the category of things which could be useful, but which we hope never are. This makes them similar to crash helmets, seat belts and fire extinguishers – all common items which most of us wish we will never to have to benefit from.

However, knowing where your first aid kit is located, what it contains and how to use it could save a life, possibly even yours! Not only will you be able to save a life, but by making sure you have a suitable first aid kit available you can make sure that your company complies with the legislation regarding first aid at work.

Where is my First Aid Kit?

The first thing people often ask at the scene of an accident is “who’s got a first aid kit?” followed by quite a lot of confusion as frequently nobody is really sure where it is or who is in charge.  The most important thing about any equipment is, of course, that it is available for use when needed. Indeed, this is probably the most critical thing to be sure of as far as first aid kits are concerned – they must be available for use. So check that you or anybody else who needs to can get to the kit and it’s not locked up in an office or cupboard. Remember, if you can’t get to the first aid kit it might as well not exist, and you certainly won’t be complying with the legal requirement to have suitable first aid equipment. Make sure you check that anybody working late or on shift, such as cleaners or caretaking staff also have access to it.

If there is no first aid kit around, here’s how to improvise.

What’s in it?

What’s in a first aid box usually turns out, unsurprisingly, to be stuff that you can use to treat somebody who has had an accident at work. Most typical workplace first aid kits mainly contain things to help you deal with somebody who is injured, and the minimum recommended list of items according to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is:

  • a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid (for example, HSE’s leaflet Basic
  • advice on first aid at work;
  • individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of
  • work (hypoallergenic plasters can be provided if necessary);
  • sterile eye pads;
  • individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile;
  • safety pins;
  • large sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings;
  • medium-sized sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings;
  • disposable gloves

But remember this is only the minimum requirement, and your company should make sure that it carries out a first aid needs assessment according to the circumstances (hazards and risks) of your particular workplace.

You might end up ordering a pre-packed first aid box either online or from a specialist first aid equipment supplier, these are usually green and marked with a white cross. But remember that the obligation is on your company to make sure that this is enough.

Do things go missing?

They sure do!

Stuff goes missing from first aid boxes at such a rate it some people say it really ought to feature on Crimewatch! However despite popular belief most missing first aid equipment is not due to dishonesty but rather the following factors:

  1. Minor cuts and scrapes often get treated without being entered in the Accident Book or being recorded in any way, so plasters and smaller dressings tend to go first without being noticed.
  2. Disposable gloves are great for cleaning, fixing things and general repairs around the office. When there’s none to find some folks head over to the first aid kit and help themselves without a second thought. It’s not really dishonesty, after all they are using workplace equipment in the workplace!
  3. Safety pins suffer a similar fate!

So make sure that you’re keeping an eye on the contents, perhaps make it a weekly checklist and also make sure that people know to report any use of the equipment to you or the appointed person for first aid in your company.

Having a well-stocked first aid kit not only makes sure that you are helping to comply with the law, you’re also showing that your company is taking care of its employees.

Find out what your company’s first aid legal obligations are, here.

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