No one wants to think about accidents happening in their workplace, but the fact is that people are inflicted with injuries big and small each and every day. From minor things like paper cuts to more serious mishaps with dangerous industrial machinery, all workplaces have at least some level of risk. So you’ll want to be prepared for the worst happening, both in terms of the first aid kit you provide and the people who are trained to use it.
Of course, if you’re responsible for first aid in an established business, chances are you think you know what should be in your first aid kit. A few bandages, a couple of plasters, a handful of pain killers, right? Well, not exactly. This year, The British Healthcare Trade Association and the British Standards Institute launched a new British Standard for First Aid Kids, based on the minimum requirements set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in its approved code of practice.
Failing to comply with this code can have dire consequences – the HSE can prosecute where it deems that staff safety has been put at significant risk and appropriate equipment and staff training has not been providing.
Stocking your workplace first aid kit
On June 30th 2011, a new standard came into effect for workplace first aid kits. These kits are compliant with HSE guidelines, while offering best-practice in workplace first aid provision. A number of alterations were made to the kits as part of the minimum standard changes, with workplaces given a six month transitional period to comply. Kits must now include:
• Smaller dressings for finger injuries that are too large for plasters
• Adhesive tape to secure bandages without the need for safety pins
• Gel burn dressings and a conforming bandage secure the dressing
• Clothing cutters
• Eyewash bottles for travel kits
• Resuscitation shields
• A foil blanket to keep casualties warm in cases of clinical shock
In addition, the new standard increases the number of disposable nitrile gloves, but decreases the number of triangular bandages, as they are no longer used for immobilising limb injuries.
Of course, having the equipment itself is not enough. Under the HSE’s (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, there also needs to be appropriate facilities – such as a medical room – and staff trained in first-aid. All employees need to be made aware of these provisions and how they can use them in the event of illness and injury.
With staff safety – and your finances – at stake, if you run a business, it’s essential you get clued up on the kits and stock-up as soon as possible.