We are frequently asked, by those who have just completed their basic first aid training, “what do I need to put in the first aid kit for my business?”. It’s an important question to ask, not just because providing a first aid kit is a legal obligation, but because a well-stocked first aid kit has the potential to save lives.
What does my first aid kit need to contain?
The contents of your first aid kit will vary on the location of your workplace and the nature of the work being undertaken.
As a general rule, Safe Work Australia recommend that basic first aid kits should contain:
- First aid instructions – including a CPR flow chart (x1)
- Notebook and pen (x1)
- Face shield or resuscitation mask (x1)
- Disposable nitrile gloves (x5 pairs)
- Square, sterile, gauze pieces 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm (3 per pack) (5 packs)
- Saline solution (x15 ml) (8)
- Adhesive dressing strips (pack of 50)
- Alcohol free wound cleaning wipes (1% Cetrimide BP) (x10)
- Splinter probes (disposable, single use) (x10)
- Tweezers or forceps (x1)
- Antiseptic liquid or spray (50 ml) (x1)
- A selection of non-adherent wound dressings/pads:
- Small, 5 cm x 5 cm (x6)
- Medium, 7.5 cm x 10 cm (x3)
- Large, 10 cm x 10 cm (x1)
- Conforming cotton bandages:
- 5 cm width (x3)
- 7.5 cm width (x3)
- Crepe bandage 10 cm (for serious bleeding/pressure application) (x1)
- Scissors (x1)
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape (non-stretch) – 2.5 cm wide roll (x1)
- Safety pins (packet of 6) (x1)
- BPC wound dressings:
- Medium – No. 14 (x1)
- Large – No. 15, large 1 Dressing – Combine Pad 9 x 20 cm (x1)
- Plastic bag and clip seal (x1)
- Triangular bandage (calico or cotton minimum width 90 cm) (x2)
- Rescue blanket (x1)
- Single-use eye pad (x4)
- Ideally, access to 20 minutes of clean running water or include hydrogel (3.5 gm sachets) if there is no access to clean water (x5)
- Instant ice pack (x1)
For workplaces based outside it is recommended that, in addition to the items above, a heavy duty crepe bandage and string relief cream/gel/spray is included.
- If your workplace is in a remote location, that will take longer for medical professionals to reach; you should also include:
- A whistle that can be used to attract attention
- A torch
- A heavy duty crepe bandage
- Large, clean, polythene sheets
- Thermal blanket
Finally, if your workplace exposes employees to a risk of suffering a burn, the kit should also include:
Instructions on how to treat burn injuries, ideally printed on a waterproof card. One card to be stored in the first aid kit and the other by the emergency water supply.
- hydrogel sachets (8 × 3.5-gram sachets)
- hydrogel dressings
- clean polythene sheets (small, medium and large)
Remember to regularly check your first aid kit to ensure that it remains fully stocked. As a general rule, check it after every use or every 12 months if it is unused. Check:
- For missing items that need replacing.
- That the items haven’t met their expiry date.
- That items, such as bandages, are still sealed and sterile.
Where should I store the first aid kit?
When choosing where to store your first aid kit, you need to consider two main things. Firstly, identify the areas where an accident is more likely to occur. Secondly, find a prominent place within the high-risk areas to locate the first aid kit.The first aid kit should be easy to access by any member of staff so don’t store it in a locked filing cabinet, or in an area that has restricted access.
Always remember that you may need more than one first aid kit. For example, if you have several high-risk areas or the business is spread out across multiple floors of a building. If this is the case, take time to carefully consider the location of each kit.
Finally, consider using signs to direct to the first aid kit, or above the first aid kit to highlight its position. A sign with a green background and a white ‘+’ is a well recognised symbol for first aid so where possible, make sure you utilise them.
If you need any help or advice putting together a first aid kit for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (08) 9337 3451. You can also look at the Safe Work Australia Model Code of Practice for First aid in the workplace for more guidance.
But to make life even easier for you, we have teamed up with First Aid Kits Australia, another WA-owned business and chosen what we consider the best kits to meet your needs in accordance with worksafe criteria. Please go here to find a kit that meets your requirements. Feel free to ask us if you have any queries.