What exactly is “OSHA First Aid,” and what do you need to do to comply with regulations for your industry?
Suppliers will often try to sell you what they offer, rather than what you need, and you, as either an employer or a supervisor, can be held both criminally and civilly liable if your workplace is not in compliance. Medical and first aid issues are the 19th most frequently cited of all OSHA violations.
What do you need?
“Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.” This rule applies to treatment of minor injuries that occur in the workplace. The contents of the kit listed in the ANSI standard should be adequate for small work sites.
When larger or multiple operations are being operated at the same location, employers should determine the need for additional kits, additional types of first aid equipment and supplies, and enhanced kits for unique or changing first aid needs. If it is reasonably anticipated that employees will be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials while using first aid supplies, employers are required to provide personal protective equipment in compliance with OSHA’s 1910.1030(d)(3).
Are there any specific interpretations for the term “readily available”?
The first aid supplies should be located in an easily accessible area, and the first aid provider generally should not have to travel through several doorways, hallways and/or stairways to access first aid supplies.
Don’t believe it! If you are looking for an “OSHA Approved First Aid Kit” or an “OSHA Certified First Aid Kit,” there is no such thing. OSHA sets forth first aid kit guidelines for general industry, construction, and industry-specific first aid requirements, but OSHA does not “approve” any manufacturer’s products. It is up to the manufacturer to ensure the kits fulfill the OSHA first aid kit requirements and thereby state that the kits are “OSHA compliant” or that the kit “meets OSHA First Aid Kit Guidelines.”
What should be in my first aid kit?
The following list sets forth the minimally acceptable number and type of first-aid supplies for first-aid kits. The contents of the first-aid kit listed should be adequate for small work sites, consisting of approximately two to three employees. When larger operations or multiple operations are being conducted at the same location, additional first-aid kits should be provided at the work site or additional quantities of supplies should be included in the first-aid kits:
- Gauze pads (at least 4 x 4 inches).
- Two large gauze pads (at least 8 x 10 inches).
- Box adhesive bandages (band-aids).
- One package gauze roller bandage at least 2 inches wide.
- Two triangular bandages.
- Wound cleaning agent such as sealed moistened towelettes.
- At least one blanket.
- Adhesive tape.
- Latex gloves.
- Resuscitation equipment such as resuscitation bag, airway, or
- Pocket mask.
- Two elastic wraps.
- Directions for requesting emergency assistance.
Benefits of Buying First Aid Kits for Employees
Has your company ever thought about buying every employee a first aid kit to keep in their vehicle? This is something the President at Lancaster Safety approved of and is considered “going above and beyond OSHA’s regulations”. If your company is thinking about applying for OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, we would encourage you to think about purchasing first aid kits for your employees. Read about just one recent success story from a Lancaster Safety employee:
“I want to thank LSCI for purchasing a first aid kit for me and the rest of LSCI’s employees to carry in our cars because I unfortunately needed it this past weekend to help a motorcycle victim. I was stopped at a scenic pull-off in the Colorado Mountains when I witnessed an accident right behind me. There were several other bystanders there that watched a man being tossed 30 feet from his motorcycle after hitting an SUV head-on. Luckily, he was wearing a protective suit and helmet which ended up saving his life (Personal Protective Equipment -PPE- can save lives) but his gloves and shoe went flying. He obtained several serious injuries. I’ve been through first aid training through LSCI multiple times and was the only bystander that immediately called 911. I also grabbed the first aid kit I had in my car and helped administer first aid. It took 20 minutes for the ambulance, police, and fire truck to get to us (we were 7,000 feet up in the mountains).
I will admit that when LSCI handed me a first aid kit to keep in my car “just in case”, I had the wrong attitude thinking this was a little unnecessary but since we’re a VPP company I understood being extra cautious. I NEVER thought I would need it. I would like to encourage all employers to provide their employees with first aid kits, I am incredibly grateful for mine!”
Click here to get more information and order first aid kits! They are also available at Wal-Mart or some grocery stores. Read question and answers to first aid on our blog.