When it comes to first-aid kits, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is not a micro-manager.
The agency doesn’t tell you what supplies to include in your kit or even how many kits you should have. OSHA only says at 29 CFR 1910.151(b), that “adequate first-aid supplies shall be readily available.”
OSHA, in a 2007 letter of interpretation (LOI), tells you that “If the employer has persons who are trained in first aid, then adequate first-aid supplies must be readily available for use.”
What does OSHA mean by “adequate” supplies? The LOI went on to explain that “employers are required to provide first-aid supplies that are most appropriate to respond to incidents at their workplaces.” The most appropriate supplies can be different for each work-site.
Which begs the question, what does “most appropriate” mean?
Review your OSHA logs and reports
To determine the supplies and the amounts that are “most appropriate” for your workplace, you can review your OSHA 300 logs of injuries and Illnesses and your 301 incident reports. You can also seek the advice of your medical professional, or you can consult the local fire and rescue service or emergency medical services.
Appendix A to §1910.151 refers employers to the American National Standard (ANSI) Z308.1-1998 “Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits,” saying the contents of the kit listed in the ANSI standard should be adequate for small worksites. For larger operations or multiple operations, employers should determine the need for additional kits, additional types of first-aid equipment and supplies, and additional quantities and types of supplies and equipment in the kits.
When stocking your kit, keep in mind the number of employees who may use the kit, and make sure it is easy to access.
While OSHA does not prohibit employers from locking up first-aid supplies, a lock cannot keep the first aid supplies from being “readily available.” Because a lock may limit accessibility in an emergency situation, employers who secure first-aid supplies need to train employees on how to access those supplies, and must ensure that someone is always available to provide access to the supplies.
First-aid kits might not be enough
It some cases, first-aid kits aren’t enough to meet OSHA’s requirement to provide medical supplies that match the hazards of the workplace. For instance, OSHA’s standards for logging operations, permit-required confined spaces, and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution require training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for certain employees.
In addition, §1910.151(c) requires you to provide “suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body” when employees may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.
Some state-plan states may have slightly different or more stringent requirements than those of federal OSHA. In California, CalOSHA requires that a physician approves the contents of workplace first-aid kits. If you are in a state-plan state, be sure to check your state’s requirements.
OSHA also refers to ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2014 as an additional, but not a mandatory guide for First Aid Kits and types as noted in the link here: https://is.gd/m2zBGf
2 thoughts on ““What Do You Really Need In Your First Aid Kit?””
Hi Jack. This is an important post. We don’t think about that first-aide kit until we need it! Thank you.
No, unfortunately we don’t Mary! Thanks for stopping by!!