As part of your company’s health and safety policy there ought to be a first aid kit available and someone able to give first aid as required. What you may not know is that the British standard changed a few years ago to BS-8599-1. Therefore, it is worth making sure that your business has an up to date first aid kit.
What’s The Difference?
In simple terms, before these first aid kit standards came in, there was no agreed-upon stipulation of what a first aid kit should contain, instead leaving it to common sense. The new BS-8599-1 standard has set out a clear guide of what is required, so everyone knows what is needed, such as:
- More disposable gloves. Furthermore, these disposable gloves should be made of nitrile as they are easier to use and are suitable to use on people who have latex allergies.
- Kits have fewer triangular bandages as these are not used as often to immobilise limb injuries.
- Smaller wound dressings for injuries that are not suitable for plasters but do not require larger wound dressings.
- Tearable adhesive tape to secure bandages rather than using safety pins.
- Water-based sterile gel burn dressings (that do not need to be cooled with water) and a bandage to secure them.
- A face shield for first aiders performing mouth to mouth resuscitation
You may not realise that many components within a first aid kit have ‘use by dates’, especially adhesive items. If you have had the same first aid kit for many years it is worth checking for any expiry dates and replace the kit if it is out of date.
Your first aid kit would be of no help to anyone if at the crucial moment you need to use it and the bandages do not stick.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
There are three main types of standard first aid kit – small, medium and large. The one you choose depends on the number of people who may need treatment and the level of risk involved.
- Small – A small first aid kit covers all the injuries that could potentially happen in an office or shop environment. As well as the bandages, dressings, tapes, wipes and gloves there is also a list detailing what is contained as well as a guidance leaflet to help make sure you use the contents properly.
- Medium – A medium first aid kit is best suited to small warehouses and construction sites that employ around 50 people. It has all the contents of the small kit but also includes more specialist items such as an eye-pad and a foil blanket.
- Large – A large first aid kit is best suited to environments with around 100 employees. Typically this will include larger warehouses and construction sites. It has the same type of contents as the medium kit but more of them.
It is worth remembering that this is about more than meeting a standard. These have been brought in so that in the event of an emergency you have the relevant tools to hand and you don’t have to sift through unnecessary contents. In short, it is worth investing in the right first aid kit to look after you, your employees and anyone who visits your premises.