A good workplace first aid kit isn’t only a convenience but a crucial component of employee health and safety. How else can a workplace stay prepared for the potential hazards even an office can have?
Wanting a first aid kit in the workplace is a good first step but you’ll also need to know what should be in it. After all, an office first aid kit doesn’t necessarily need to be as equipped as one on a construction site.
Keep reading to discover what should be in your workplace first aid kit.
Identifying Workplace Threats
The first step to filling an empty first aid box is identifying what you should be most prepared for. A good first aid kit is something of a numbers game. You can’t prepare for all possible medical issues, so which should you focus on?
A good starting place is to make yourself aware of some of the most common workplace accidents at a general level. Falls, cuts and lacerations, and being struck by (or running into) objects are pretty universal threats, for instance.
Less universal might be something like burns from fire or electricity. These types of wounds can happen anywhere but are more common in some places than in others.
However, keep in mind injuries that are very rare in some places may still be a real risk at your place of work. For example, serious acid burns almost never occur in an office but are a real threat at many chemical plants.
Once you know the threats employees are likely to face, you can prioritize what is in your kit further by figuring out which potential injuries are most serious. The more serious an injury, the more important it is to be prepared.
Also, you should really consider getting extra education on this topic. Getting a first aid and CPR certificate should be your number one priority!
Good Universal First Aid Items
The answers to “What is in a first aid kit?” are going to vary quite a lot but you’d also notice many commonalities. These items can be a good place to start if you’re building your own kit or judging the quality of a pre-made one.
Top of almost any workplace first aid kit list should be the items necessary to treat cuts and lacerations. No matter where one works, these types of wounds are going to be one of the most common injuries encountered.
Moreover, cuts are relatively easy to treat and carry a real risk of infection if left untreated. It makes sense on multiple levels to equip your kit for them.
To treat cuts, we recommend the following items in any kit:
- Small adhesive bandages
- Larger wrap bandages
- Medical tape
- Medical gloves
- Disinfectant spray and/or antiseptic wipes
Additionally, almost any workplace injury will be accompanied by pain. For this reason and so employees can be provided with general pain relief for any other issues, a first aid kit should have:
We recommend having at least the above two pain relievers, not just one, so that employees who cannot take one or find one less effective have another option.
More Targeted Kit Items
As for more targeted kit items, that’s a more open question. The importance of a workplace first aid kit is that it can effectively treat the injuries you’re likely to see, which can mean many different things for different industries.
If the workplace has any kind of significant heat source, including even a small kitchen, the workplace first aid kit should be equipped to treat burns.
A burn kit should at least the following:
- Burn spray and/or burn cream
- Burn dressing
- Emergency fire/trauma blanket
- Antiseptic spray
- Pain relief (analgesic) spray
It should be noted many times these items can be combined. For example, many sprays aimed at treating burns are both antiseptic and analgesic.
Some workplaces, such as those that deal with electricity or who have employees with weaker hearts, may also want to make sure they’re equipped with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).
This is a unit designed to help shock a person’s heart back into rhythm in emergencies. AEDs can be lifesaving and are often designed to be very easy to use with minimal training.
Prepare But Don’t Overspend
With all the above in mind, remember you don’t need your workplace to be equipped like a clinic. The goal is to be able to address issues employees are likely to have.
Regarding more serious medical issues, the goal is to make sure they can be safely transported to a professional medical facility as needed. At a certain point, you simply won’t have the expertise to treat them, supplies or no.
First aid is called what it is for a reason. It is the first line of treatment for a person in need, meant to sustain them until they get to a doctor or hospital.
If you’re unsure whether your kit is sufficient, you can even talk to a medical professional about what they think you might need. However, this is rarely going to be necessary.
Where many first aid kits actually lack is regarding the person doing the treating. By taking some first aid classes, you’ll both have a better understanding of what your kit needs and be better able to treat employees.
The First Step is Asking the Right Questions
If you’re trying to fill a workplace first aid kit, you’re right to have questions. By doing some research into what threats your employees are likely to face, you can make sure your kit is ready to meet those challenges.
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