Employees and staff spend a lot of time on the work premises – a good part of their lives are dedicated to their profession to ensure the welfare of the company and to earn their living. This is good (it’s productive), but it also leaves the employee at great risk of accidents at the workplace, simply because the amount of time spent at that particular workplace. Statistics are not in our favor, and most people have an accident at work sooner or later – usually minor, but sometimes very serious.
First aid – and the proper first aid training – is therefore a major concern. But what exactly does first aid entail? Naturally, there should be trained and qualified personnel at hand to deal with emergencies, but it’s also important for everyone to understand where the first aid box is, and what it should contain. Here is a detailed description of what should be included in your company’s first aid box.
The working environment
The working environment will largely determine what should be contained in the first aid box – it is the working environment that will determine the findings regarding risk assessment and lead to proper procedures to follow. These procedures automatically include first aid procedures, and hence what should be in the first aid box. However, regardless of what working environment you are in, there should be certain basic items – the absolute necessities.
The absolute necessities
The absolute necessities described here should be included in every first aid box, including those for low level risk areas. They include (but are not restricted to):
A leaflet that give basic instructions and advice on first aid (for example, a leaflet by HSE entitled ‘Basic Advice on First Aid at Work’).
Individually wrapped sterile plasters, the size depending on the type of work in the area.
Sterile eye pads
Large sterile wound dressings
Disinfectants such as alcohol
Bear in mind that this is only a short list of basic necessities – employers should refer to the British Standard BS 8599, which provides much more detailed information on the required contents.
Also remember that it’s not recommended to keep medicine or tablets in the first aid box; they should be kept separately.
Keeping it up to date
Nothing lasts forever, and this goes double for the contents of a first aid kit – sometimes, it’s worse applying an expired bandage than it is to do nothing at all. Bandages need to remain sterile, but no matter how they are packed, they deteriorate over time. It’s the responsibility of the employer to ensure everything gets replaced periodically. Though there is no specific time table, it’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer if there is no expiry date listed on the products.
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