The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clearly states that "All first-aid boxes should have a white cross on a green background."
So why oh why do we keep on seeing all sorts of other colours – yellow, red, black, blue, you name it – in the shops?
First Aid Kits should also be kept clean, both inside and out. In many places, however, they are not. As a table tennis coach, I have been to many village halls. There, the kits, if there were any, were often dusty, if lucky, but more often than not, downright dirty.
At a tournament, I once had to tend to a minor injury and asked the organiser where the first aid kit was. He walked with me to where the kit was hanging on the wall, right above an open bin. As he pulled it off its hook, the kit opened and half the contents fell out. You can guess where they went. He was going to take the items out of the well-used bin afterwards (filled with half eaten sandwiches, sticky wrappers etc), when I stopped him. As I said, the contents inside the bin also need to be kept clean, otherwise cross contamination and infection might still set in.
A first aid kit must also be checked 'regularly.
What does that mean?
What 'regularly’ means is different per organisation. If the first aid kit is used weekly, then it will obviously have to be checked more often than if it is only used once in a blue moon. After each use, the kit should be re-stocked, but items go out of date, it may turn out replacement stock isn’t available right there and then, someone is careless – and thus one has to check the kit 'regularly’ – may this be weekly, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly or so on.
First, one needs to check that all the items that should be there, are indeed there. One should also check that all sterile items are still in date and will remain in date till the next check.
Check the accident records as well – what (minor) accidents were there and how did they occur? Is it possible to make a change so the same accident does not happen again?
Remember those first aid kits in village halls I was talking about? Well, all of them were also out of date – well and truly out of date, some by as much as 15 years… they also contained items that should never be found in a first aid kit, such as lotions and tablets.