In any workplace, the presence of well-equipped first aid kits is of utmost importance, ensuring the safety and well-being of employees. These kits play a crucial role in providing immediate medical assistance during unforeseen accidents or emergencies. From minor cuts and burns to more serious injuries, first aid kits act as a vital resource, capable of stabilizing a situation until professional medical help arrives.
OSHA Requirements for First Aid Kits
Recognizing the significance of workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established regulations concerning first aid. According to their 1910.151(a) standard, “In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.”
Contents and requirements for workplace first aid kits are provided by the American National Standards Institute/International Safety Equipment Association (ANSI/ISEA), through the Z308.1 - Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies Standard. Although ANSI Z308.1 is non-mandatory since OSHA has not adopted it officially, it is still considered the standard to follow when it comes to first aid kits. Especially when OSHA often refers employers to it for guidance on the minimum requirements for workplace first aid kits, as they do in 1910.151 Appendix A.
Classes and Types of First Aid Kits and Required Supplies
There are two main classes of first aid kits used in workplaces - Class A and Class B. The difference between the two classes lies in their level of comprehensiveness and suitability for different workplace settings.
Class A: Class A kits are designed to provide basic first aid for common workplace injuries. They include a minimum set of supplies to address minor injuries, such as cuts, burns, and sprains. These kits are generally appropriate for low-risk work environments with a smaller workforce.
Class B: Class B kits offer a higher level of coverage and are suitable for high-risk environments or workplaces with a larger number of employees. They are more comprehensive and contain a wider range of supplies to address a broader scope of injuries and emergencies. These kits include all the supplies found in Class A kits, with additional items to address more severe injuries and high-risk situations. Class B kits are recommended for workplaces with a higher risk of accidents, such as construction sites or industrial facilities.
The distinction between these kits ensures that workplaces are adequately prepared to handle potential injuries based on their specific risk levels. Employers should assess their workplace hazards and consult OSHA requirements for first aid kits to determine the appropriate class of kit required to meet the safety needs of their employees.
Here are the minimum required components for both Class A and Class B first aid kits.
First Aid Supply
Minimum Quantity for Class A Kits
Minimum Quantity for Class B Kits
Minimum Size or Volume
|1 inch x 3 inches (2.54 cm x 7.62 cm)
|2.5 yards (yds)
|1/57 oz (0.5 g) of antibiotic ointment
|10 wipes or pads
|50 wipes or pads
|1/57 oz (0.5 g) of antiseptic solution
|1 breathing barrier device (e.g., CPR face shield)
|1 breathing barrier device (e.g., CPR face shield)
|Burn Dressing (Gel Soaked)
|4 inches x 4 inches (10.16 cm x 10.16 cm)
|10 applications (e.g., burn cream or spray)
25 applications (e.g., burn cream or spray)
|1/32 oz (0.9 g) of burn cream
|4 x 5 inches (10 x 12.5 cm)
|Eye Covering (With Means of Attachment)
|2.9 square in (19 square cm)
|1 fluid oz
|4 fluid oz
|52 x 84 in (132 x 213 cm)
|First Aid Guide
|1 bottle or 10 single-use packets
|2 bottles or 20 single-use packets
|At least 1/32 oz ((0.9 g) per bottle
|Medical Exam Gloves
|2 in x 4 yds (5 cm x 3.66 m)
|4 in x 4 yds (10 cm x 3.66 m)
|4 x 2.4 inches (10.2 x 61 cm)
|3 inches x 3 inches (7.5 cm x 7.5 cm)
|1.5 inches (width)
|5 inches x 9 inches (12.7 cm x 22.9 cm)
|40 x 40 x 56 inches (101 x 101 x 142 cm)
Types of First Aid Kit Containers
Type I containers are often referred to as portable kits and are designed for easy mobility. These containers are typically small and lightweight, making them suitable for personal use or small-scale applications. They are commonly used in vehicles, backpacks, or for individual use during outdoor activities. Type I containers often feature compact designs and durable materials to withstand various environments and conditions.
Type II containers are larger and more comprehensive than Type I kits. They are commonly used in medium-sized workplaces, offices, or small businesses. These containers offer a wider range of supplies to address a broader spectrum of injuries and emergencies. Type II kits are usually wall-mounted or kept in easily accessible locations for quick retrieval.
Type III containers are designed for high-risk workplaces or large organizations with a significant number of employees. These kits are extensive and well-stocked, containing a comprehensive range of supplies to handle various medical situations. Type III containers are often mounted on walls or placed in central locations to ensure quick and easy access for all employees. They are suitable for industries such as construction, manufacturing, or warehouses.
Type IV containers are specialized kits tailored to meet the unique requirements of specific industries or environments. These kits are designed to address industry-specific hazards and injuries. Type IV containers may contain specialized equipment or supplies necessary for particular work settings, such as chemical spill response kits or wilderness first aid kits. They are essential in industries like laboratories, hazardous material handling, or remote outdoor settings.
First Aid Kit Placement and Accessibility
Importance of Accessible First Aid Kits
Accessible first aid kits are crucial for prompt and effective emergency response in the workplace. Quick access to first aid supplies can make a significant difference in treating injuries and minimizing their severity. Employees should be able to locate and retrieve first aid kits easily during an emergency. Accessible first aid kits ensure that employees can provide immediate assistance to themselves or others in need.
Recommended Locations for First Aid Kits
First aid kits should be strategically placed in areas where they are easily visible and accessible to all employees. Common locations include break rooms, employee gathering areas, or near high-risk work zones. Placing kits near entrances, exits, or areas with a higher likelihood of accidents can improve response time. Kits should be placed at a height that allows for easy retrieval, considering the needs of different individuals.
Ensuring Visibility and Easy Access
First aid kits should be clearly labeled or marked with recognizable signage. Kits should be easily distinguishable from other storage areas or equipment.
Regular checks should be conducted to ensure that kits are properly stocked, and any expired or damaged supplies are replaced promptly. Training employees on the location of first aid kits and their contents can further enhance accessibility and response.
Exceptions for Remote or High-Risk Workplaces
Remote or high-risk workplaces may have specific challenges in terms of first aid kit placement and accessibility. In such cases, additional kits may be necessary to ensure coverage across the worksite. Portable or mobile first aid kits can be utilized to provide immediate care in remote or hard-to-reach locations. High-risk workplaces may require specialized first aid kits tailored to the specific hazards present.
1. Can employers use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as part of their first aid kits?
Yes, employers can include AEDs as part of their first aid preparedness. AEDs are life-saving devices that deliver an electric shock to restore the heart's normal rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest. While they are not typically found within standard first aid kits due to their size and complexity, employers should consider having accessible AEDs in appropriate locations, especially in workplaces with a higher risk of cardiac events.
2. Are there any industry-specific first aid kit requirements?
Yes, certain industries may have industry-specific first aid kit requirements. For example, industries dealing with hazardous materials or chemicals may require additional supplies such as chemical neutralizers or specialized protective equipment. It is important for employers to assess the specific risks and hazards associated with their industry and comply with any regulations or guidelines that outline the necessary first aid supplies.
3. What should employers do if they have multiple work areas or shifts within their organization?
Employers with multiple work areas or shifts should ensure that each area and shift has access to adequate first aid resources. This can be achieved by providing each area or shift with their own designated first aid kit or by strategically placing multiple kits throughout the workplace. It is important to regularly check and restock the kits to ensure they are always equipped with the necessary supplies.
4. Can employees administer first aid without training?
While it is preferable for employees to have some level of first aid training, employees can provide basic first aid in emergency situations even without formal training. However, employers should encourage employees to participate in first aid training programs to enhance their knowledge and skills in providing proper and effective care. Training equips employees with the confidence and abilities to handle emergencies appropriately, potentially improving outcomes and minimizing further harm.
5. Are there any restrictions on storing first aid kits in vehicles or mobile workplaces?
There may be certain restrictions on storing first aid kits in vehicles or mobile workplaces depending on local regulations and guidelines. Employers should check with the appropriate authorities or regulatory bodies to ensure compliance. It is important to store first aid kits securely, protecting them from extreme temperatures, moisture, and any potential damage. Regular inspections and restocking should also be conducted to maintain the integrity and readiness of the kits.