Essential Work Place First Aid

Health and Safety First Aid regulations 1981 requires that as a minimum all offices, regardless of size or number of employees, should have a full equipped first aid box and an appointed person(s) responsible for first aid within the workplace. The appointed person’s role is to take charge when first aid might need to be administered and should be responsible for calling the emergency services if necessary.

There are 4 sizes of first aid kits that are used as a guide by the BS 8599-1 standard (published in June 2011) for use in the workplace. It is the duty of the employer to ensure that a first aid needs assessment has been carried out to conclude whether the workplace is a low or high hazard environment.

In high risk organisations a trained first aider would be required. This person should be trained and prepared to manage a situation that requires first aid. It is advised that they would take an annual refresher course. The trained first aider would have the basic skills to be the first point of call for the an employee or visitor of the premises that either is involved in an accident at work or takes ill person before the emergency services arrive.

If the company were assessed as a low hazard environment; i.e.: office workers with less than 25 employees, the company would only require a small first aid kit. A low hazard company with more than 25 but less than 100 employees would need a medium sized kit and companies assessed as having a low risk hazard but with more than 100 employees would need one large kit per 100 employees.

In contrast a company rated as a high hazard such as a building contractors with less than 5 employees would need a high hazard small first aid kit. High hazard companies employing more than 5 employees and less than 25 employees would need a medium sized kit and high hazard companies with more than 25 employees require one large first aid kit per 25 employees.

There is no set list of items that should be included in a 1st aid kit however the following items are advised for the workplace:-

  • a leaflet on general first aid
  • medium sterile dressings (12cm x 12cm)
  • large sterile dressings (18cm x 18cm)
  • assorted plasters (relevant for the work area)
  • triangular bandage (90cm x 127cm)
  • safety pins (assorted)
  • sterile eye pads
  • disposable gloves
  • saline cleansing wipes
  • roll of adhesive tape
  • sterile adhesive dressing/s
  • resuscitation face shield with valve

Subject to the nature of your business and your own risk assessment a 1st aid kit would most likely require additional items and should be topped up appropriately. Tablets and medicine should not be included in a first aid kit. However a list of employees with any specific medical issues or allergies should be included in your staff emergency records.

A 1st aid kit should be easily accessible and that its location known to all employees. The equipment should be stored in a clean, dust proof, sturdy container that will hold all the items and provide them with protection.

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Alternatively, if you are looking to provide your employees with a specific medical insurance policy then speak to BDHL today. As a dedicated health and protection broker team we pride ourselves on tailoring the current benefits package so that our clients receive maximum protection for minimum cost. Contact us today +44(0)1892 891900 or email us on