All employers must ensure they always have a fully stocked first aid kit within reach. In addition to being a legal requirement, this may also save someone’s life in the event of an accident before they get help from the emergency services.
In this article, we’ll discuss what your first aid responsibilities are as an employer in detail. We’ll also explain what the first aid kit in your workplace needs to contain to ensure your employees are provided with first aid at all times.
What legal responsibilities do I have as an employer?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated that:
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to assess the risks to their employee’s safety and health and take action to avoid or control the risks if necessary.
- The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 imposes a duty on employers to provide appropriate and adequate personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure their employees are given immediate attention if they suffer an injury or become ill at work.
This means that it’s your responsibility to make all the necessary arrangements to ensure employees that receive an injury or are taken ill are provided with first aid, irrespective of the cause of the injury or illness.
If you are self-employed, you must ensure you possess appropriate and adequate equipment for the circumstances to provide yourself with first aid while at work. This applies even if you work from home.
What should a first aid kit contain?
To find out what type of equipment the first aid kit in your workplace should contain, you must undertake a work first-aid kit need assessment.
Carrying out this assessment requires you to consider the number of employees, types and levels of hazards, and workplace environment.
If members of the public visit your workplace, you’ll need to take them into account as well while carrying out the assessment. Other factors you should consider include the following:
- Any health issues that your employees already have
- Common hazards encountered in any workplace, not only the ones typical for yours
- How many visitors enter each of your premises
- The specific guidance of the HSE for the industry your company is in
A first aid kit should include all the essential and necessary equipment required to treat superficial injuries that don’t need emergency attention, such as:
- Sterile dressings, including adhesive wound dressings and plasters or individually wrapped wound dressings
- Bandages like tubular, triangular, or roller bandages
- Clips and pins – to tie loose ends of applications up
- Scissors – to cut sticky tape, applications, or someone’s clothing if you need to get to a wound
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes – to clean the skin surrounding the wound
- A thermometer (a digital one if possible) – to take and record high body temperatures
- Personal protective items (PPE), such as a pocket mask, plastic face shield, and/or gloves. (1)
Do employees need to be trained to provide first aid?
One person at least should be appointed to look over the first aid equipment, ensuring it’s all up to date, and call the emergency services if needed.
However, if you work with dangerous materials in your workplace, the best thing to do is to ensure that some employees are formally trained to respond to and treat injuries. To determine which staff members should be prepared, you should consider the following factors:
- The work patterns of the staff – it’s best to provide training to full-time employees or employees present in your workplace the most, and also ensure their responsibilities are carried out when they’re away.
- The nature of their work – what are the primary hazards the employees are exposed to, and how likely are those hazards to pose a dangerous threat?
- The history of the organization – the number of accidents that have occurred in the past and how likely they are to happen again.
- How practical the company location is – how easy it is for emergency medical services to get to the area and how close the nearest hospital or pharmacy is in case of an emergency. (2)
Speaks from heart, always too passionate and driven by emotions. Spins the words with kindness & sharpness, intriguing your ever-inscrutable minds.