Having a well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any occupational safety program. OSHA has not set what specifically is required in a first aid kit but does state that “adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.” This means the kit stored on hand should reflect the kinds of injuries happening in that facility, is stored an easily accessible location, and includes an appropriate amount of supplies for the size of the organization. Regardless, all general first aid kits typically include antiseptics, bandages, medicines, and simple medical tools.
OSHA does refer to ANSI/ISEA Z308.1, a standard developed by the American National Standards Institute and the International Safety Equipment Association establishing detailed minimum requirements for workplace first aid kits. The most recent revision, published in 2015, introduces two classes of kits based on assortment and quantity of first aid supplies:
- Class A: These kits are for dealing with the most common types of workplace injuries like sprains and strains, minor abrasions, minor burns, wounds, and eye injuries. Required supplies for a Class A first aid kit include adhesive bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic application, antiseptic, a breathing barrier, burn dressing, burn treatment, a cold pack, eye coverings, a first aid guide, hand sanitizer, and medical exam gloves. Class A first aid kits will likely fit the needs of any small business.
- Class B: The second class of kits, Class B, are designed to be used in more complex or high-risk environments. Because of this, Class B first aid kits have a broader range and a higher quantity of supplies. In addition to the supplies listed for Class A kits, these first aid kits must also include a splint, a tourniquet, and large roller bandages.
Additionally, four types of first aid kit containers are identified:
- Type I: Kits intended to be stored stationary and indoors where there is little potential for damage.
- Type II: Kits are portable and should be equipped with a carrying handle. Like Type I, these first aid kits are designed for indoor applications where potential for damage is minimal.
- Type III: Intended for portable use, these kits are used indoors, outdoors, and in mobile settings where potential for damage is not probable.
- Type IV: Portable kits designed for use in mobile industries or outdoors settings with a significant potential for danger due to rough handling or environmental factors.
Before ordering a first aid kit or station, the specifics of the facility should be evaluated. How many employees are there? What kinds of injuries are common occurrence? Do workers handle hazardous materials? First aid kits are not one size fits all, so it is crucial to provides ones that meet the needs of the organization