“It’s amazing how quickly an accident can happen and how badly a person can be injured after what seems like a minor incident. When one of our contract workers tripped and fell down a single step, everyone expected him to get up, dust himself off and continue working. But we quickly realized that it was something more serious. In fact, he had broken his ankle! Of course, we didn’t know that at the time, but our first aider knew that we’d have to get the injury checked out by a doctor.

The first step was to get the safety boot off before the ankle swelled up too much. While our first aider went ahead with that, I quickly fetched the first aid kit. Once we had lightly bandaged the ankle to provide support, we took our injured workmate straight to the hospital. Now the important thing to remember, was that the first aid kit needed to be re-stocked right away. These kits only need to contain a few basic items given the scope of our work, but I can see just how important it is to have these things on hand.”

What Should Be in Your First Aid kit

OSHA requires that a first aid kit must contain the following basic supplies:

  • 4x4 inch gauze pads x 2
  • 8x10 gauze pad x 1
  • Band aids
  • Roll of 2 inch wide gauze bandage
  • Triangular bandages x 2
  • Wound cleaning agent
  • Pair of scissors
  • A blanket
  • Pair of tweezers
  • Adhesive tape to secure bandages
  • Latex gloves for the first aider
  • A resuscitation bag, airway or pocket mask
  • Elastic wraps x 2
  • Splint x 1
  • Emergency assistance contact information

This stock is sufficient for a site with two to three workers. When operations are more extensive, additional supplies should be included, or more than one first aid kit should be available. Depending on the type of work that you do, you may need additional supplies, such as burn gel.

If you’re not sure about which additional supplies to include, you can look at the type of accidents that might occur in your line of work, or you can consult the OSHA 300 log and OSHA 300 reports. You can also talk to your local fire and rescue services to get their recommendations.

What Should Not Be in Your First Aid Kit?

Since people may be sensitive to certain medications, items such as ordinary pain killers should never be administered, as these may do more harm than good if there is an allergy. In their private capacity, workers may use pain killers and other medications, but these should never be supplied by employers.

Maintaining Your First Aid Kit

First aid kits need to be checked regularly and be restocked as necessary. Keep an inventory list of all the required items (you can easily apply a label to the inside of your kit’s lid) and set up routine checks and reports to ensure that first aid kits are fully stocked at all times. This might include monthly inspections done in conjunction with checking the fire extinguishers.

Where Should Your First Aid Kit Be Stored?

In emergency situations, your first aiders must be able to have quick access to first aid supplies. Store your first aid kit as close to the worksite as practical, and get extra first aid kits if the worksite layout deems necessary.