When it comes to first aid, you don’t want to be cutting corners. In fact, it’s illegal! In most places there are clear cut guidelines on every aspect of your first aid stations – from where it’s located, to who is in charge of it, to what’s inside of it, etc. Everyone has probably had a first aid kit at one point or another in their lives, but the first aid kits carried by boy scouts or kept in a family emergency box might not be up to regulations for the workplace.
First Aid Kit vs. First Aid Station
In a place of work, having a kit around isn’t enough, you need a station. Laws vary from location to location, but you should have a symbol that indicates the first aid station location. In many cases, these forms can be obtained from institutions like the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and contain various legally-required details, including information about the first aid station itself. Another difference between a kit and a station is that a first aid station is manned by a member of staff. Workers who will undertake this responsibility must be trained and have their qualifications displayed along with the kit. In addition, the station must be inspected regularly to ensure that supplies remain at acceptable levels, which brings us to…
What a first aid station needs to have.
Requirements for the amount of supplies obviously change with the amount of workers employed, but the items themselves are generally the same. When viewing the numbers below, keep in mind that the smaller numbers are for a workforce of just 1-5 people while the top end is for anywhere from 16 to 200 workers (during any one shift).
- A first aid manual; someone trained should always be around but in the event that someone without training needs to perform first aid, this is essential.
- 10-24 safety pins
- 12-48 individually wrapped adhesive bandages
- Four to 48 sterile gauze pads, these should be three inches square
- Two to eight rolls of gauze bandaging, both in two inch and four inch width
In addition, larger workforces should have things like a steel basin, triangle bandages, splints of varying sizes, two rolls of splint padding, and sterile surgical pads.
It is also recommended that emergency procedures (such as CPR instructions) are also listed in the materials contained in the kit. The basic rule of thumb is to always have more on hand than you need. This is one part of your business that can only benefit from being overly stocked and having “too much” of something on hand; just make sure that you keep things organized so that they are easy to locate quickly.
If you employ a workforce in which more than a certain number of workers (this threshold is generally 200+) are working during the same shift, you may be required to have a first aid room. First aid rooms have more requirements than stations, so look to literature on that to find out exactly what you need to have.
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