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Workplace First-Aid Kit 101

Posted by Medsafe on Apr 17, 2017 7:25:00 AM

If you work as a site safety manager, one of the first basic steps you can take to effectively ensure the safety of your employees is to know precisely what belongs in a well-stocked first-aid kit. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the two classes and four types of first-aid kits, as well as the legal requirements surrounding them.

New information published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that workers who suffer a disabling injury earn about $31,000 less over the 10-year period following their injury. The numbers from a business's standpoint do not look any better. Information from the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, outlining the compensation costs for on-the-job injuries, shows that the top 10 most disabling injuries in the workplace cost businesses an estimated $51.06 billion per year.

Four types of first-aid kits

Now that you know how much injuries can cost your business, you may be wondering how you can best meet the safety needs of your employees, as well as stay within government guidelines. There is an abundance of federal safety regulations, and the fact that they often reference each other can make them difficult to accurately interpret.

Confusion often occurs because OSHA's first-aid kit regulations point to requirements for compliance with ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015. ANSI/ISEA recently began to distinguish between two classes of first-aid kits. Before diving into OSHA's safety compliance regulations in relation to first-aid kits, understand that there are two basic types of kits. Each type  has their own recommended use and minimum required stock: Class A and Class B.

What is in a Class A first-aid kit

Class A first-aid kits work best for minor injuries, which may include:

  • Superficial wounds (cuts, punctures, etc.)
  • Small burns
  • Mild blunt-force injuries
  • Common illnesses (headaches, indigestion, etc.)
  • Minor sprains and strains
  • Overexertion (lifting, pushing, etc.)

All of these potential ailments are common in almost any hazardous workplace.

Minimum Class A first-aid kit requirements

As required by law, Class A first-aid kits must contain:

  • 16 adhesive bandages (1 in. x 3 in.)
  • 1 adhesive tape (2.5 yd. total)
  • 10 antibiotic treatments (.14 fl. oz/.5 g)
  • 10 antiseptics (.14 fl. oz/.5 g)
  • 1 breathing barrier
  • 1 burn dressing (4 in. x 4 in.)
  • 10 burn treatments (1/32 oz/.9 g)
  • 1 cold pack (4 in. x 5 in.)
  • 2 eye coverings
  • 1 eye wash (1 oz.)
  • 1 first-aid guide
  • 6 hand sanitizers (1/32 oz/.9 g)
  • 4 medical exam gloves
  • 1 roller bandage (2 in. x 4 yd.)
  • 1 scissors
  • 2 sterile pads (3 in. x 3 in.)
  • 2 trauma pads (5 in. x 9 in.)
  • 1 triangular bandage (40 in. x 40 in. x 56 in.)

What is in a Class B first-aid kit

Class B first-aid kits require a larger quantity of materials than Class A kits and are assembled to accommodate larger workplaces with more employees. Class B kits are also intended to cover more serious injuries, like broken bones or deep cuts. For example, a Class B first-aid kit must include:

  • 1 padded splint
  • 1 wide roller bandage (4 in. x 4 yd.)
  • 1 tourniquet

Other than item quantity, these three required items are the only differences between Class A first-aid kits and Class B first-aid kits.

Minimum Class B first-aid kit requirements

As required by law, Class B first-aid kits must have:

  • 50 adhesive bandages (1 in. x 3 in.)
  • 2 adhesive tape (2.5 yd. total)
  • 25 antibiotic treatments (.14 fl. oz/.5 g)
  • 50 antiseptics (.14 fl. oz/.5 g)
  • 1 breathing barrier
  • 2 burn dressings (4 in. x 4 in.)
  • 25 burn treatments (1/32 oz/.9 g)
  • 2 cold packs (4 in. x 5 in.)
  • 2 eye coverings
  • 1 eye wash (1 oz.)
  • 1 first-aid guide
  • 10 hand sanitizers (1/32 oz/.9 g)
  • 8 medical exam gloves
  • 2 roller bandages (2 in. x 4 yd.)
  • 1 wide roller bandage (4 in. x 4 yd.)
  • 1 scissors
  • 1 padded splint
  • 4 sterile pads (3 in. x 3 in.)
  • 4 trauma pads (5 in. x 9 in.)
  • 2 triangular bandages (40 in. x 40 in. x 56 in.)

ANSI/ISEA also began to distinguish four different types of first-aid kits: Type I-IV.

Type I and type II

ANSI/ISEA designated both type I and type II kits for indoor use. The only material difference between the two is that a type I is mounted and a type II is portable. Thus, it is possible to create a type I Class A first-aid kit and a type II Class A first-aid kit.

Type III and type IV

The difference between type III and type IV kits is more substantive. You can use both type III and type IV kits both indoors and outdoors. The difference is that type IV kits must be waterproof, not just water-resistant like type III kits. Type IV kits can also take more abuse if the job site requires rigorous handling.

Choosing the right kit

The sheer number of options can make deciding on the right first-aid kit seem nearly impossible. But a few key factors can help you determine precisely which kit is right for you. The risks that are present combined with the potential severity and likelihood of an incident will help you choose which Class you should pick from. A site where heavy wounds are possible should consider choosing Class B.

Second, the number of employees, physical layout of the facility and the distance to emergency services will help you determine how large your first-aid kits should be, as well as how many are necessary. In the end, knowing what belongs in a well-stocked, appropriate first-aid kit is more than just safety compliance; it is about intelligently and effectively ensuring the continued safety of your employees.

Topics: First-Aid, Facility Safety

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