What should you put in a first aid kit? In our previous blog, we looked at what colour a first aid kit should be (green with a white cross), the cleanliness of the inside and outside of the first aid kit and we talked about checking a first aid kit on a regular basis.
What we did not look at, however, was what should go in the kit.
Yes, you could go to a shop or buy one online, but will that contain the correct items? Considering the fact that many first aid kits that are sold in the UK are actually the wrong colour, can we trust that the contents are correct? We think not.
There is guidance, in the form of British Standard BS 8599, of what should go in a first aid kit, and most first aid kits that you can buy 'off the shelf' abide by that guidance. However, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clearly states that:
There is a British Standard BS 8599 for first aid kits, it is not a regulatory requirement under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to purchase kits that comply with this standard. Instead the contents of a first aid box is dependent on an employers first aid needs assessment.
This means for employers following a needs assessment the options are:
1. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents complies with BS 8599 and matches or exceeds the findings from your needs assessment;
2. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents matches the findings from your needs assessment but does not comply with the requirements of BS 8599.
So, it all depends on your needs assessment.
In this leaflet by the HSE it again clearly states that
'The contents of any first-aid kit should reflect the outcome of your first-aid needs assessment.'
The suggested content list of BS 8599 is
• a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid
• individually wrapped sterile plasters (of assorted sizes)
• sterile eye pads
• individually wrapped triangular bandages
• safety pins
• large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
• medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
• disposable gloves
Let's go through that list on an individual basis.
These are some other items that we'd like in our first aid kits.
The contents of a first aid kit are decided solely by a first aid needs assessment. There is a British Standard BS 8599 but that is for guidance only, contains sharp safety pins and is missing many other needed items.
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 contain guidance on first aids needs assessments.