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11 January 2016

First aid kits - Do these vary between organisations?

No matter the size of the organisation, all workplaces are required to have a first aid kit within quick access in the event of a serious injury or illness at work. First aid kits, equipment, and facilities are an essential investment to all Australian workplaces under the Work Health and Safety Act. It is important to note that the type of first aid kit required varies among workplaces.

The contents and design of a workplace first aid kit is subject to change depending on the working conditions of the workplace. For example, where the risk of injury is high such as in the construction and aviation industry, one kit should be provided for every 25 employees. In the case of low-risk workplaces such as within offices, one kit would be appropriate for every 10 to 50 employees. This depends on the risk assessment conducted on the workplace. Moreover, where there are separate work areas, it may be appropriate to locate first aid facilities centrally, and provide portable kits in each work area[1].

Portable first aid kits should be large enough to include all the necessities. Kits are to include – but not be limited to include – items to administer aid for the following injuries[2]:

  • cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
  • muscular sprains and strains
  • minor burns
  • amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
  • broken bones, and
  • eye injuries.

Moreover, it is important to note that first aid kits must be regularly inspected to ensure kits are clean and complete – items must be in working order, used items replaced, and all items are accessible.