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What’s Required For Your Workplace First Aid Kit?

Did you know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a medical services and first aid kit standard? It states that first aid should be used in the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital in near proximity to the workplace. And, adequate first aid supplies should always be readily available. While OSHA’s standard doesn’t list specific contents for first aid kits, the agency’s guidance states that supplies must be adequate and reflect common injuries relating to the work environment. Kits must be stored in an area that is easy to access in case of emergency. So, what belongs in your kit? On April 15, the American National Standards Institute/International Safety Equipment Association (ANSI/ISEA) updated its guidance for first aid kits in the workplace. OSHA cites ANSI/ISEA as a recommended, non-mandatory source of guidance for minimum first aid kit requirements, thus the new guidance is essentially the worksite standard. Notable Updates For First Aid Kit Here are the most notable updates in the first aid kit guidance:

  • Updated specificity on tourniquets: A tourniquet intended to prevent blood loss should be at least 1.5 inches wide and effective for limb sizes 7-33 inches around

  • Foil blankets are mandatory: Following the lead of similar international standards, the updated guidance recognizes “the multiple purposes that the item can serve to respond to first aid emergencies.”

  • Updated bleeding control kids: ISEA has updated bleeding control kids to contain more advanced first aid supplies that can help immediately treat life-threatening external bleeding.

The updated standard, Z308.1, was approved April 15 and goes into effect Oct. 15, 2022. The last time the standard was updated was in 2015. Next Steps for Your Workplace “These changes are meant to improve safe outcomes for employees,” Todd VanHouten, chair of ISEA’s first aid product group, said, urging employers to make these updates sooner rather than later. ANSI/ISEA also emphasizes the importance of considering the type of emergencies that might arise on specific worksites and updating your first aid kit accordingly. The revision includes a “more robust discussion” to assist employers when assessing risks and identifying potential hazards for selecting any additional first aid supplies. The standard asks employees to consider:

  • What are the potential hazards?

  • What kinds of injuries have occurred or could occur in relation to these hazards?

  • What types of first aid supplies are needed to treat these injuries?

The revision keeps the classification of “Class A” and “Class B” kits. Depending on the type of worksite, one or both may be recommended. Class A kits are generally equipped for all wounds, minor burns, and eye injuries, whereas Class B kits are equipped for injuries more often found in high-risk environments such as factories, warehouses, and outdoor areas. “Employers should check their first aid cabinets against the new standard and make the necessary changes,” ISEA said. “In determining which class of kit is more appropriate for a given workplace, employers should conduct a workplace hazard assessment to first decide if a Class A or Class B minimum fill best fits the type of hazards at the facility.” You should take time each month to inspect your first aid kits, and also every time there is an incident where products are used.

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