Its one of life’s oddities – everybody knows the importance of having a well stocked first aid kit, but even though we know it, many of us still neglect our first aid boxes, only to remember we used the last plaster or sterile dressing when we are stood over the near empty box dripping blood on the carpet.
This is also true of office first aid kits, and although it is the duty of the health and safety officer to make sure that the office first aid kit is always stocked, unless their collegues tell them that they have used something there is still a good chance it will be poorly stocked when needed. If you are unsure about what needs to be in your first aid kit, we have produced this office first aid kit checklist to make it easier for you to be prepared in the event of an injury.
Office first aid kit contents vary slightly from the content of your home first aid kit. There is no set content list for your office first aid kit as it is dependent on the results of your risk assessment and size of your office. If you have a large office you may need more then one first aid box situated at hub points in the building.
The minimum that should be in each of your office first aid kits is as follows:
- A first aid leaflet with instruction on how to use the various content of the first aid kit.
- 20 individually wrapped plasters of varying sizes and shapes
- 2 sterile eye pads
- 4 triangular bandages (ideally these would be sterile and wrapped)
- 2 straight bandages (ideally these would be sterile and wrapped)
- 2 rolls of gauze (ideally these would be sterile and wrapped)
- 6 safety pins
- 6 medium individually wrapped sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
- 2 large individually wrapped sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
- A roll of medical adhesive tape (for example Micropore tape)
- A pair of disposable gloves.
- A pair of Scissors
- A pair of Tweezers
Office first aid kits should not contain any tubes of ointment, or boxes of painkillers or other items such as throat lozenges or indigestion tablets or other “over the counter” medicines as there is a possibility that someone in the office may be allergic to them and therefore they should not be in the office first aid kit. If they are required, then the person needing them should provide them themselves.
Although many items in an office first aid kit such as sissors, tweezers or gloves will not go off, many of the sterile items and dressing may have a best before date on them. It is important to check the first aid box regularly not only to make sure it has the correct content but also to make sure that nothing has expired.
Many companies opt for buying a “pre-packed” first aid kits from companies who specialise in providing office first aid kits. These are widely available and tend to come in plasic boxes which are either white with a red cross, or more commonly, green with a white cross – the international symbol for first aid.
You can however, easily create your own first aid kit using the office first aid checklist above. If you do, make sure it is kept in a air-tight box somewhere that is dry and easily accessable. The location should be clearly marked with the appropriate signage and one person should be allocated to ensure it is always up to date and correctly stocked. Although you may hope you will never require a first aid kit in your office, it pays to be prepared and is an inexpensive way of showing your employees you care about their wellbeing. For more information please visit the Health and Safety Executive website.