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First aid for the workplace

March 1, 2011

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Having a well-stocked first aid kit and knowing how to use it can mean the difference between a minor injury and a major problem. OSHA requires employers to have first aid supplies readily available to employees, yet the requirement does not cover exactly what needs to be included in your workplace’s kit.

The American National Standards Institute’s document, “Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits,” offers the following recommendations on what should be included to treat common injuries:

  • At least one absorbent compress 32 square inches in size, with no side smaller than 4 inches
  • At least 16 adhesive bandages, 1 inch by 3 inches in dimension
  • One roll of adhesive tape, at least 5 yards in length
  • At least 10 packets (0.5 grams each) of antiseptic
  • At least six 0.5-gram applications of burn treatment
  • Two or more pairs of medical exam gloves, latex or non-latex
  • At least four sterile pads, 3 inches by 3 inches
  • One triangular bandage, 40 inches by 40 inches by 56 inches

Further, ANSI identifies the following supplies as optional:

  • Four bandage compresses, 2 inches by 2 inches
  • Two bandage compresses, 3 inches by 3 inches
  • One bandage compress, 4 inches by 4 inches
  • One eye patch
  • One ounce of eyewash
  • One chemical cold pack, 4 inches by 5 inches
  • Two roller bandages, 2 inches wide
  • One roller bandage, 3 inches wide
  • CPR barrier device

All employees should know where they can find first aid supplies. And although OSHA does not require it for all industries, it can be helpful to provide first aid and CPR training to workers so they know how to safely respond in an emergency situation.

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