FIRST AID KITS AND TRAINING IN THE WORKPLACE
Employers have a legal duty to make arrangements to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. First aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 ACOP 3 (4) state that...
"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."
BRITISH STANDARD (BS) COMPLIANT FIRST AID KITS
BS 8599 1:2011 is the standard that sets the minimum level that workplace first aid kits should conform to.
The standard gives recommendations on the amount and size of the first aid kits necessary for the different workplace environments based on the category of risk and number of employees in the workplace. Should the risk or number of employees deem it necessary the minimum contents can be supplemented by additional items appropriate to the hazards identified.
What size kit do I need?
The table featured to the right provides guidance for employers but does not replace the requirement for a risk assessment to be carried out.
HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE (HSE)
The HSE do not give a strict list of products that should go into a first aid kit but instead suggests that the kit needs to be 'adequate and appropriate in the circumstances'. This is done by performing an assessment of needs on each area of the workplace. There is no requirement to keep written records of this but the HSE strongly recommend doing so as this will enable the employer to give explanation for their decisions if needed.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER IN YOUR ASSESSMENT OF NEEDS:
The nature of your work - Size of the organisation - Type of workforce - Distribution of workforce
British Standard Motor Vehicle Kits
Trauma First Aid
The survival of a casualty following a trauma injury is reliant on fast and effective treatment provided before the arrival of Emergency Services. If there is a chance of someone experiencing a serious bleed or traumatic injury then it is essential to have emergency first aid supplies available.
Electric Shock Rescue
If there is risk of someone receiving an electric shock in your workplace, it is essential to have suitable equipment and supplies in place to be able to safely rescue them and treat their injuries.
Burns Kits and Dressings
Burns are a common workplace injury and can usually be effectively treated with simple first aid. Early cooling (within 20 minutes of the injury occurring) reduces burn depth and pain and prevents the burn from getting worse.
The BS 8599-1 standard has introduced water based sterile gel burn dressings which do not require any pre-cooling with water and recommends a conforming bandage to secure it.
Rapid response is required for any eye injuries sustained in the workplace as most damage to the eye occurs in the first few seconds of injury.
If mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, at least one litre of sterile water or sterile normal saline (0.9% w/v) in sealed, disposable containers should be provided. Once the seal has been broken, containers should not be kept for reuse. Containers should not be used beyond their expiry date HSE ACOP 3(40).
Refills and Consumables
The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state "The contents off first aid containers should be examined frequently and should be restocked as soon as possible after use. Sufficient supplies should be held in stock on site."
You should regularly check your first aid kits. Keeping products past their expiry dates can be unsafe as they may start to deteriorate and become ineffective.
There is no specified timetable for review and many items specifically sterile ones are marked with expiry dates and should be safely disposed of and replaced by the given dates. It is advisable to check with the manufacturer if sterile items have no dates and for non-sterile items judgement should be used based on whether or not the item is fit for purpose.
There is currently no legislation in place in the UK or Ireland which obliges certain businesses or premises to provide an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), however AED's have been described as the single most important development in the treatment of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.1
AEDs are easy to use, compact and portable. They are completely safe to use and will not allow a shock to be given unless the heart's rhythm requires it. Machines are also designed to be stored for long periods without use and require very little routine maintenance.
FIRST AID SIGNS
These signs are required to inform your employees of the first aid provision. You should clearly identify who first aiders are, the location of first aid boxes, first aid room or station and equipment such as eye wash stations or emergency showers.
FIRST AID ROOM
The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 states:
“Employers should provide a suitable first aid room or rooms where the assessment of first aid needs identifies this as necessary. The first aid room(s) should contain essential first aid facilities and equipment, be easily accessible to stretchers and be clearly signposted and identified. If possible, the room(s) should be reserved exclusively for giving first aid.”
A first aid room will usually be necessary where there are higher hazards such as in chemical industries or on large construction sites, and in larger premises at a distance from medical services. A designated person should be given responsibility for supervising it. The room(s) should be clearly signposted and identified by white lettering or symbols on a green background.
FIRST AID TRAINING
To help you comply with regulations Arco Training and Consultancy has a full programme of HSE approved courses suitable for all organisations regardless of size and number of employees.
Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)
Delegates will learn how to administer first aid to casualties who are unconscious, choking, suffering from shock or wounded and bleeding as well as minor injuries such as grazes. This course is suitable for when a one day training course has been assessed to be sufficient.
First Aid at Work (FAW)
This three day course has the same content as above but also gives the delegate the ability to administer first aid in a range of specific injuries and illness such as: fractures, sprains and strains, poisoning and eye injuries. This course is ideal for anyone nominated as workplace first aider and people who want a good grounding in first aid.
First Aid at Work Annual Refresher
This course is a chance to refresh knowledge learned on the First Aid at Work course. It reinforces knowledge in a practical way to maintain first aid skills. This course is open to delegates who hold either of the two certificates above.
First Aid at Work Annual Requalification
This two day course is to refresh knowledge learned on the First Aid at Work programme. This must be completed within 28 days of the expiry of the First Aid at Work qualification otherwise the full three day course needs to be retaken.
For more information about the services available or to book your course
please contact the Training & Consultancy team on 01482 347590.
Source: First aid at work, The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, Guidance on Regulations, L74 (Third edition) Published 2013