Serving Colorado's Counties

Technical Update vol. 28 no. 7 - Safety First: Building an Office First Aid Kit

February 13, 2024

In any workplace, the safety and well-being of employees should be a top priority. One crucial aspect of ensuring a safe working environment is the presence of a well-equipped first aid kit. The Colorado state government has not mandated the use of first aid kits in businesses. However, it is recommended to have kits on hand for emergency response and injury prevention.

While having a first aid kit is crucial, providing basic first aid training to employees is equally important. Training ensures that employees can confidently and effectively use the contents of the kit, promoting a culture of safety and empowerment within the workplace. Emergency first aid kits are designed to treat injuries or sudden illnesses before medical care is available. 

A well-organized first aid kit not only addresses emergencies but also contributes to injury prevention. Kits should be stored in an easily accessible location and have an adequate number of each supply to accommodate all your employees. A general-use first aid kit should include the following:

  • Absorbent compress
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic applications
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Arterial tourniquet
  • Burn treatment
  • Cold pack
  • Eye/skin wash
  • Medical exam gloves
  • Splint
  • Sterile pads

CUSTOMIZE FIRST AID KITS

Consider the environment and risks of your workplace, and customize your first aid kit accordingly. Evaluate hazards specific to your workplace to determine what kit and container you need based on the number of people the kit is expected to serve, the complexity of the environment, and the level of site hazards. 

For example, a workplace with a higher risk for electrical fires should have more burn pads and ointment in its first aid kit. You might want to include antihistamine medication and an epinephrine pen in your first aid kit to address severe allergies. Also, you could include glucose tablets or gels to treat people with diabetes. The American Red Cross recommends that workplaces add an oral thermometer to their first aid kits and hydrocortisone ointment packets.

MAINTAINING FIRST AID KITS

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t mandate exactly what must be included in a workplace first aid kit, it does recommend that a specific person be assigned responsibility for choosing and maintaining first aid kits. It is good practice for a first aid leader to stock first aid kits with more supplies than necessary. For example, if the kit is required to have one burn dressing and an employee needs to use it, there may be no dressing left in the kit should another employee require one. The first aid leader should make an inventory checklist, and every time supplies get removed or replaced, it should be recorded. Expiration dates should also be checked at every inspection.

PROMOTING A CULTURE OF SAFETY

Investing in first aid kits is an investment in the health and safety of employees. Providing a comprehensive first aid program demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being and creates a safer and more secure work environment. By understanding the importance of first aid kits and implementing best practices, businesses can not only meet legal obligations but also contribute to a culture of safety that benefits everyone in the workplace.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR COUNTIES

Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Having a readily accessible first aid kit allows for immediate response to injuries, reducing the severity of wounds and preventing complications. Quick access to bandages, antiseptics, and other essential supplies can make a significant difference in the initial moments following an incident. 

Understanding and adhering to workplace safety regulations is paramount. Many jurisdictions mandate the presence of first aid kits in workplaces to ensure that immediate care can be provided. Compliance not only safeguards employees but also protects businesses from legal repercussions. For more information, contact CTSI at (303) 861-0507.

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