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First Aid Requirements in the Workplace

Every workplace in the UK is legally required to ensure the correct first aid equipment is available, no matter how big or small. Employers are expected to appoint a member of staff that is responsible for the prevention of accidents, as well as know basic First Aid to be able to help if someone is injured or falls ill.

As well as ensuring first aid supplies and equipment are on hand, there is also a basic standard of first aid kit. The type of kit that suits the business needs depends on the industry and size.

Why do you need a workplace First Aid kit?

Some workplaces are more likely to experience employee injuries, while others are at a much lower risk. Even if there is only one worker in the workplace, there is still a legal requirement to ensure a first aid kit is available.

The HSE's (Health & Safety Executive) health and safety regulations stipulate that by providing a workplace first aid kit, employers are working to mitigate the risk of serious injury in the workplace in an emergency. Different working environments will require different types of first aid kits, depending on the potential risks and hazards in the workplace. For example, a catering environment is likely to experience a higher level of cuts or burns, whereas laboratories are at a higher risk of eye injuries. Larger organisations, such as factories or warehouses, often benefit from having a first aid kit station which provides more supplies and equipment than a standard first aid kit.

Before deciding on which first aid kit the business needs, it's important to conduct a thorough risk assessment to understand the types of potential risks and hazards in the working environment.

workplace first aid supplies

Minimum first aid requirements

Although HSE's guidance doesn't provide a mandatory list of items that a standard first aid kit should include, they do provide the minimum workplace first aid requirements for any business. They are:

  • 20 x individually wrapped sterile plasters of assorted sizes and appropriate to the type of work, i.e. waterproof plasters for a kitchen, or hypoallergenic plasters
  • 2 x sterile eye pads
  • 2 x individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
  • 6 x safety pins
  • 2 x large sterile, individually wrapped non-medicated wound dressings
  • 6 x medium-sized sterile, individually wrapped non-medicated wound dressings
  • A minimum of 3 x pairs of disposable gloves
  • A first aid leaflet that provides general guidance

Types of workplace first aid kits

There are various types of workplace first aid kits targeted toward specific work environments and injuries. Indeed, in many workplaces, it is often advisable to improve first aid facilities by having more than just the standard first aid kit.

  • Burns first aid kit - in work environments where there is a high risk of burns, including chemical burns, a wall mountable burns first aid kit is a must. The kit will include non-adherent and non-toxic burn gel to cool, soothe and moisturise burns, disposable gloves, dressings and scissors. It is also useful if anyone gets sunburn.
  • Eyewash first aid kit - in workplaces where there is a risk of eye injuries, it is recommended to add a wall-mounted eye wash kit. It will contain eye wash solutions, phials, eye pads, and a mirror for self-administered injuries. For larger businesses with a first aid station, sterile eye wash is a great addition to your first aid resources.
  • Car first aid kit - even if your staff are on the road much of the time, it is still the employer's responsibility to ensure a suitable first aid kit in situ. A motorist car first aid kit is ideal for sales reps' cars, taxis and any other vehicles that can carry up to 16 people. Recommended by St John Ambulance, they are available in several sizes and contain all the necessary first aid supplies, including dressings, sterile and non-sterile bandages, cleansing wipes, plasters, disposable gloves, a disposable heat retaining foil blanket, burns dressings, St John Ambulance Revive-Aid and a first aid emergency booklet.
  • AED Responder kit - the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) kit is light and easy to transport and can diagnose various conditions should a person feel ill. There is a built-in calm voice that can guide you through life-saving techniques, if necessary, even to the point of the application of defibrillation. As well as being used in ambulances, police cars and paramedic vehicles, they are also becoming very popular in public places, such as leisure centres, swimming pools, shops and schools, in case of an emergency.
  • Defibrillators - there are several different types of defibrillator available, and which one you select depends on the first aider's experience level and the needs of your workplace environment. The HeartSine Samaritan range of defibrillators includes semi-automatic and fully-automatic versions. The Zoll AED 3 defibrillator incorporates many features and is easy to use.

At ESE Direct, we supply a wide range of first aid kits, defibrillators and other first aid supplies to restock first aid kits. Our nitrile powder-free disposable gloves come in a range of sizes, whilst our vinyl powder-free gloves are in packs of 100. We also have a variety of sterile medical wipes, sterile, non-sterile and burns dressings of various sizes, bandages, and thermometers, including our non-contact infrared thermometer, foil blankets, eye washes and phials, as well as Koolpak instant hot or cold packs.

With even the smallest businesses needing a first aid responder, the St John Ambulance First Aid Manual is a must-have. In addition, the Little Anne CPR training manikin will help teach the first aid representative and others how to do CPR in an emergency situation, ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations.

ESE Direct is a leading supplier of products for businesses, schools, colleges and universities, workshops and warehouses. With a wide and diverse range of products, more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in the industry, a bespoke design and installation service and exceptional customer service, you can trust ESE Direct.

Photograph of Debs

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