The Office Safety Company

First-aid Kits

The following text represents extracts taken from the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP L74) covering The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 (UK).

This code has been approved by the Health & Safety Commission and gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. These regulations are to be adhered to by all businesses including offices.

ACOP 3(1)

An employer shall provide, or ensure that there are provided, such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first-aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work.

Most accidents in the office are relatively minor but they can be many and they can also be varied, so the contents of a first-aid kit should be able to deal with a wide number of minor injuries and conditions.

ACOP 3(4)

An employer should make an assessment of first-aid needs appropriate to the circumstances of each employee.

Adequate first aid provision will need to be made to the following different type of personnel if they work for your organisation:

  • Office workers
  • Home office workers
  • Vehicle based workers (those who spend a significant time in a vehicle)

When ordering first-aid kits consider carefully therefore that each person should have a first-aid kit to hand at all times.

ACOP 3(31)

There is no mandatory list of items that should be included in a first aid container. Employers should decide what to include in the first-aid container from information gathered during their risk assessment of first-aid needs.

It goes on to recommend that where no special risk arises in the workplace, a minimum stock of first-aid would normally be:

ItemQuantity
Guidance Leaflet1
Sterile plasters20
Sterile Eye Pads2
Triangular Bandages4
Safety Pins6
Medium Dressings6
Large Dressings2
Gloves (Pairs)2

As well as cuts there is the likelihood that office workers, home workers and vehicle based workers can suffer from burns, scolds, sprains as well as eye conditions. You may therefore wish to choose first aid supplies that include burn relief sprays, supportive bandages and eye-wash.

ACOP 3(34)

The assessment may conclude that there is a need for additional materials and equipment, for example scissors, adhesive tape, disposable aprons and individually wrapped moist wipes.

There is the distinct possibility that some types of office workers may have to administer first aid to themselves. When choosing a first aid kit it is wise to take these considerations into account and to include these additional items.

ACOP 3(32)

The contents of first-aid containers should be examined frequently and should be restocked as soon as possible after use. Sufficient supplies should be held in a back-up stock on site. Care should be taken to discard items safely after the expiry date has passed.

Regular checks of every first aid kit is essential to ensure stocks are replenished and kept within date.

ACOP 3(36) Eye wash

Where mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, at least 1 litre of sterile or normal saline (0.9%) in sealed, disposable containers should be provided. Once the seal has been broken, the containers should not be kept for re-use. The container should not be used after the expiry date.

Eye-wash is always useful in any event. The containers are ready designed to provide eye irrigation quickly and efficiently.

ACOP 3(44)

Where the first aid assessment identifies a need for people to be available for rendering first aid, the employer should ensure that they are provided in sufficient numbers and at an appropriate location to enable first aid to be administered without delay should the occasion arise.

It is essential that you have the right amount of people who are sufficiently trained to administer first aid.

Further Info

Health & Safety Executive leaflets on first aid:

Publications

Disclaimer: The Office Safety Company have provided the ‘Quick Guides’ on the basis that the content and advice contained within these documents is to the best of our knowledge accurate at the time of publication. The Office Safety Company does not accept any liability for the accuracy of the information provided in the ‘Quick Guides’.