As stated by The Health and Safety Regulations 1981, all UK businesses are legally required to have first aid kits and arrangements in place. In an emergency situation, it is important that first aid trained staff are on hand with the appropriate equipment to act quickly.
So, in this article, we will be taking you through everything you need to know about first aid kits, from what should be included to how to ensure your kit is adequately prepared.
What should be included in a first aid kit?
A first aid kit for a workplace or public place should always be guided by a first aid needs assessment. This assessment will take into account the potential hazards, the environment, the number of employees as well as how many members of the public are on your premises.
Every first aid kit will look different and will be based on the specific needs of the site; however, a basic first aid kit should include the following:
- Plasters, Bandages and Dressings- Required for injuries ranging from small cuts and grazes to larger wounds that require pressure to stop the bleeding.
- Adhesive Tape- Used to hold bandages and dressings in place.
- Cleansing Wipes- Used to clean the skin around cuts and wounds.
- Scissors- Used to cut away clothes or to cut bandages to size.
- Disposable Gloves and Face Masks- Used to reduce the risk of infection.
- Foil Blankets- Used to retain body heat in emergencies.
Why is it important to have a first aid kit?
Firstly, first aid kits are a legal requirement in all places of work, so from a business perspective, it is imperative that they are on site. However, from a safety standpoint, it is important to remember that accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, so whether you are in the workplace or at home, it is always best to be prepared.
When accidents occur, immediate action must be taken and having a first aid kit can provide the initial care before seeking professional medical attention. There are many reasons to have a first aid kit, such as:
First aid kits are for much more than cuts and scrapes as they act as the first line of response when it comes to saving lives. Whether it is emergency painkillers or a dressing that can provide enough pressure to stop serious bleeding, first aid kits are vital around the home and in the workplace.
Safety should be of paramount importance in any workplace, and by having a first aid kit and explaining to your staff the importance of it, they are far more likely to feel safer at work. Staff will feel confident in the knowledge that should an injury occur, the appropriate equipment is on hand, and the situation can be managed until further medical help is received.
By ensuring staff are first aid trained and explaining the importance of a first aid kit, employees will be reminded of the risks in the workplace, and they are likely to be more mindful of their environment. This will hopefully result in fewer workplace accidents throughout the year.
First aid kits and training your staff to use the contents in an emergency will ultimately create a more positive working environment. By taking the time to prioritise the day-to-day health and safety of your employees, you are showing them that, as an employer, you care about their wellbeing. First aid training is more than just a legal formality; it is a skill that everyone should have and will help save lives.
Live Saving Skill
As mentioned, we believe all people should have first aid training, and when properly trained, individuals are more likely to act quickly in an emergency situation. This will allow them to be safe both in and out of work, with the knowledge of how to respond and what they need to use from a first aid kit to help save lives.
Less Serious Injuries
By having a first aid kit on hand, you will be able to provide a basic level of treatment that could make a huge difference in the long term. By acting quickly, you could stop an injury from progressing into something more severe or even life-threatening and help increase the time the individual has to get to a hospital. This means not only can lives be saved, but you may reduce the recovery time needed before work can be resumed.
What are the different types of first aid kits?
First aid kits are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can cater to a variety of industries and environments. Different places will require different types of first aid kits, and whilst the contents of each kit should be based on an individual first aid needs assessment, these are some of the generic kits on the market:
Workplace First Aid Kit
The HSE and BSI are the two most commonly used first aid kits in the everyday workplace. These kits are catered to dealing with common workplace injuries and are available in a range of sizes to suit the risk of the environment (low, medium and high risk). The contents of the kits consist of plasters, bandages, gloves, foil blankets and more.
Sports First Aid Kit
Sports first aid kits are available to manage any incidents that may occur during sports or on a sporting site. These kits typically include a wide selection of bandages and dressings, along with tape, gloves, sterile wipes, ice packs and safety pins. Depending on the size of the site, larger kits may be required and may also contain items such as heat spray and eyewash pods.
Catering First Aid Kit
Catering is another industry where first aid kits are vital for dealing with accidents that may occur. Catering environments are typically fast-paced and high-pressure, leading to an increased likelihood of injuries, particularly when sharp utensils and heat are involved. Similar to workplace first aid kits, catering environments also use the HSE and BSI kits which are stocked with blue detectable plasters, bandages and other items to manage cuts and burns.
Burns First Aid Kit
These types of first aid kits come fully stocked with everything that is required to immediately deal with burns before seeking professional medical help. Burns kits are equipped with everything you should need to manage burns caused by fire, hot water, electrical currents, hot objects and more. Generally, you will find items such as burns dressings and gel sachets to help prevent further contamination and cool the burn. You will also find bandages, gloves and tape in these kits.
Travel First Aid Kit
These kits are designed for motorists and those who use a vehicle for work. In there, you will find trauma dressings, bandages, sterile dressings, gloves, cooling gel for burns, thermal blankets and scissors. This kit contains everything you need in an emergency situation on the road, such as a car accident and will allow you to manage the situation before emergency services arrive.
Personal First Aid Kit
The personal first aid kit is designed for workers who are often on their own such as security personnel, maintenance workers, delivery drivers and cleaners. This kit can be carried on their person as it is more compact and contains essential items such as plasters, bandages and dressings. The idea is that first aid can be self-administered until further help is received.
Critical Injury First Aid Kit
As the name suggests, the critical injury first aid kit includes items that will provide immediate treatment in life-threatening situations. You will find trauma wound dressings, scissors, tourniquets and other equipment that can help to put pressure on heavy bleeding.
Schools, Nurseys and Childcare First Aid Kit
These first aid kits have been created for use in schools, nurseries and childcare settings. They are equipped to handle everything from minor scrapes and grazes to more serious injuries. In this kit, you will find children’s assorted plasters, bandages, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation devices, cleansing wipes, eye pads, scissors, finger dressings and more.
What should be in a first aid kit at work?
As of 2019, it was recommended that all workplace first aid kits conform to the British Standard BS 8599-1:2019. However, the contents of a workplace first aid kit should be based on your first aid needs assessment.
An example of a workplace such as an office where activities are low risk would require a minimal first aid kit with:
- A detailed leaflet on first aid
- Assorted Plasters
- Eye Pads
- Triangular Bandages
- Safety Pins
- Assorted Wound Dressings
- Disposable Gloves
Employers must always ensure that their employees and anyone on their site receive immediate help if they become ill or are injured at work. This means there must always be a suitably stocked first aid kit, an appointed first aider available to administer care, and all employees should be aware of any arrangements.
Why do you need tweezers in a first aid kit?
Whilst tweezers aren’t always found in first aid kits, they are an important tool. Tweezers can be used to retrieve debris from the skin, such as splinters, glass, dirt, plastic, nails and more. These types of foreign bodies can pierce the skin and can only be removed with the delicacy and precision of tweezers.
However, it should be noted that not all objects should be automatically removed by tweezers as it may cause more harm to the patient.
How to prepare a first aid kit
Preparing a first aid kit begins with having a suitable container to house the contents. The ideal container should be large enough to hold everything, lightweight, easy to open and close, have a sturdy handle, and last a long time.
Ensuring you have the correct kit prepared also involves assessing your first aid needs. To do so, you must consider the following:
- The type of work carried out on site
- Hazards and the likelihood of harm occurring
- The number of staff and people regularly on your site
- Staff work patterns
- Having appointed first aiders and ensuring there is always qualified personnel on site
- Historical accidents
- Proximity to emergency services
Finally, preparation should include regularly checking your first aid kit. Many items in the kit, such as sterile plasters, may have expiry dates and will need disposing of and replacing. Anything that doesn’t have an expiry date will need to be regularly checked to ensure they are still fit for use.
First Aid at Work Training
At Dynamis Education Centre, we are proud to be a leading provider of training and education services. We are a nationally accredited and recognised training provider of both online eCourses and in-person training courses.
As part of our training and education services, we provide a First Aid at Work course for learners who wish to become first-aiders in the workplace. This qualification meets the requirements for training emergency first-aiders in those organisations that have identified that staff need to be trained to this level within their first-aid needs assessment.
If you would like to learn more about our First Aid Training Courses or any of our other services, please feel free to visit our website or get in touch today on 08000 24 24 43 or email us at email@example.com.