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First Aid Kit: Components, Use, Inspection and Placement
Recommended First Aid Kit Components
OSHA states that first aid kits should be readily available. An example of the minimum contents of a generic first aid kit can be found in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z308.1-2009. (For additional information on the ANSI standard, please see Quick Tips #208: First Aid Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.151 and Z308.1-2003 Summary.) The first aid kit components listed in the ANSI standard should be adequate for small worksites.
Kits should provide a basic range of products to deal with most types of injuries encountered in the workplace. Components should include what is needed to treat the following injuries: major wounds, minor wounds (i.e., cuts and abrasions), minor burns and eye injuries. Since each workplace is unique, additional first aid kit components should be selected in addition to the basic components to address these hazards. Current ANSI standards require first aid kit components to be latex free.
Employers who have large or multiple operations and unique or changing first-aid needs in their workplace may need to add to their first aid kits. The employer can use the OSHA 300 and OSHA 301, accident reports and job safety analysis information to identify these problems. Local fire/rescue departments, medical professionals or local emergency room may be helpful in determining the necessary supplies. By assessing the needs of their worksite, employers can ensure that reasonable first aid supplies are available. Employers should review this information on an annual basis.
Bloodborne pathogen-related personal protective equipment is not required in a first aid kit, but is recommended. 29 CFR 1910.151 Non-Mandatory Appendix A states: "If it is reasonably anticipated that employees will be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials while using first aid supplies, employers are required to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in compliance with the provisions of the occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens standard, 1910.1030(d)(3) (26 FR 64175)." This standard lists the appropriate PPE for the type of exposure, such as gloves, gowns, face shields, mask or eye protection.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicine can be put in first aid kits if packaged in single-dose, tamper-evident packaging and labeled as required by FDA regulations. OTC drugs should not contain ingredients that are known to cause drowsiness. It is suggested to check your company procedures as well as your insurance company regarding the policy for OTC medications. Many insurance companies do not approve of OTC medications as first aid kit components.
Tourniquets are not recommended for general first aid kids. A tourniquet typically is a last resort in the event of life-threatening injuries and should be administered only by a trained person.
Items other than the minimum fill and those recommended by a person knowledgable in first aid and of the hazards in the specific workplace environment should not be first aid kit components.
First Aid Kit Placement
There are not any specific requirements that outline where a first aid kit should be located or how it should be identified. As a general rule, a first aid kit should be unlocked, accessible and placed in a highly visible area. Kits should be easily identifiable by either a sign or other easily recognized markings that designate it as a first aid kit.
First Aid Kit Inspection
First aid kits should be regularly inspected to ensure that they are full, in good condition and the contents have not expired. The first aid kit components list should be periodically reviewed to ensure that it meets the needs of the workplace hazards at all times.
First Aid Kit Use
The ANSI standard recommends that in addition to a first aid kit, each work location should have at least one individual available who is trained in first aid and CPR. For additional information on rendering first aid, please see Quick Tips #207: Basic First Aid Procedures.
Find even more information you can use to help make informed decisions about the regulatory issues you face in your workplace every day. View all Quick Tips Technical Resources at www.grainger.com/quicktips.
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The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.