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First Aid Kit: What is Important to Have?

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit Contents

Employers have been required to stock adequately supplied the first aid kit since the Health and Safety (First Aid) regulations 1981 were passed, yet until recently there was no definition of what ‘adequate’ meant. Now, BS-8599 sets out the standards for adequate first aid kits for UK employers of different sizes, which we will explore here.

First, we’ll need to determine what type of first aid kit (or kits) you need. This depends primarily on what type of work your organisation does and the number of employees doing it.

Low Hazard

Work includes standard businesses and other operations, such as shops, offices and other places that really aren’t particularly dangerous.

High Hazard

Facilities include places of construction, warehousing, food processing and anything that involves sharp, large or dangerous equipment.

As most of our readers work in high hazard environments, at least for the purposes of BS-8599, we’ll look at the ‘high hazard’ first aid requirements in detail.

Next, you need to look at how many people work on your site at a time (including yourself).

  • If there are less than 5 employees in total, you will need a single ‘small’ kit.
  • If there are between 5 and 25 people on site at a time, you’ll need a single ‘medium’ sized kit.
  • If there are more than 25 people on site at any one time, you’ll need one large kit per 25 employees. That means that you’d need 2 at 26, 3 at 51, and so on.

First Aid Kit: 4 Employees or Less

The minimum contents for an adequate ‘small’ first aid kit is:

  • One 10cm x 10cm burn dressing
  • 40 wash-proof plasters, assorted sizes
  • Two eye pad dressings (with sterile bandages)
  • One adult size foil blanket
  • One large and four medium HSE dressings (sterile but unboxed)
  • Six pairs nitrile gloves
  • One mouth to mouth resuscitation device (with valve)
  • Two 3.5cm finger dressings (with adhesive fixings)
  • One 7.5cm x 4 metre conforming bandage
  • One roll of 2.5cm x 5 metre microporous tape
  • 20 cleansing wipes
  • Six safety pins (assorted sizes)
  • Two 90cm x 127cm single-use triangular bandages
  • One pair of 6” universal shears
  • One first aid guidance leaflet

First Aid Kit: 5 to 25 Employees

The minimum contents for an adequate ‘medium’ first aid kit is:

  • Two 10cm x 10cm burn dressings
  • 60 wash-proof plasters, assorted sizes
  • Three eye pad dressings (with sterile bandages)
  • Two adult size foil blanket
  • Two large and six medium HSE dressings (sterile but unboxed)
  • Nine pairs nitrile gloves
  • One mouth to mouth resuscitation device (with valve)
  • Three 3.5cm finger dressings (with adhesive fixings)
  • Two 7.5cm x 4 metre conforming bandage
  • One roll of 2.5cm x 5 metre microporous tape
  • 30 cleansing wipes
  • Twelve safety pins (assorted sizes)
  • Three 90cm x 127cm single-use triangular bandages
  • One pair of 6” universal shears
  • One first aid guidance leaflet

First Aid Kit: Per 25 Employees

The minimum contents for an adequate ‘large’ first aid kit is:

  • Two 10cm x 10cm burn dressings
  • 100 wash-proof plasters, assorted sizes
  • Four eye pad dressings (with sterile bandages)
  • Three adult size foil blanket
  • Two large and eight medium HSE dressings (sterile but unboxed)
  • Twelve pairs nitrile gloves
  • Two mouth to mouth resuscitation device (with valves)
  • Four 3.5cm finger dressings (with adhesive fixings)
  • Two 7.5cm x 4 metre conforming bandage
  • One roll of 2.5cm x 5 metre microporous tape
  • 40 cleansing wipes
  • Twenty four (24) safety pins (assorted sizes)
  • Four 90cm x 127cm single-use triangular bandages
  • One pair of 6” universal shears
  • One first aid guidance leaflet

One thing to remember, though, is that these standards represent the bare minimum which is considered safe for high hazard worksites. It doesn’t hurt to overstock a little, or even to assume that there will from time to time be more people present on site than your payroll figures suggest. Keeping a few extra kits around, or having more than the minimum numbers of supplies in them might be a good idea.

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