All employers in the UK are required by law to provide a minimum of one workplace first aid kit for their staff. Several more could be required depending on the size and complexity of the site, the number of people on the premises, and the degree of risk relevant to the work activity. We cover the legal requirements and a contents checklist on our blog, and offer information on the importance of being prepared for workplace injuries.
The first step to making sure your business is compliant with the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE)’s regulations is to complete a thorough risk assessment to determine the first aid needs in your workplace. According to HSE guidelines, this risk assessment should take into account the following:
- The nature of the work and workplace hazards and risks.
- The nature of the workforce.
- The organisation’s history of accidents.
- The size of the organisation.
- The needs of travelling, remote and lone workers.
- Work patterns.
- The distribution of the workforce.
- The remoteness of the site from emergency medical services.
- Employees working on shared or multi-occupied sites.
- Annual leave and other absences of first-aiders and appointed persons.
- First-aid provision for non-employees.
Individual assessments of workplace first aid needs are essential and should be carried out, recorded, and actioned regularly by you or your business’s appointed first aider. Check out of helpful First Aider Alert guide for tips on managing first aid provisions in your workplace.
By taking the time to understand your own workplace's risks and hazards, you can make sure that if any of your employees sustain an injury, all the necessary equipment to respond is ready. This will not only mean you’re complying with the law, it also ensures your staff feel safe and comfortable in the workplace.
Workplace first aid kits are an essential provision that could help save a life in an emergency. For any serious accident or injury, the first protocol is always to dial 999 and contact your appointed first aider to attend to the casualty until the emergency services arrive. When faced with any life-threatening emergency, having access to the right items to provide first aid treatment can make all the difference to the casualty’s recovery and wellbeing.
We will cover how to cater for your business’s unique first aid box needs, guiding you through how to determine how many first aid kits your workplace requires and where they should be positioned to be compliant and keep your workforce safe.
Where should First Aid Kits be Located in the Workplace?
Your workplace first aid needs assessment will give you essential help to determine where you should locate first aid kits in your workplace. They don’t need to be located in a specific place, but where you position them will depend on the layout of the workplace and your assessment findings.
You will need to factor in the complexity of the layout and where higher-level hazards are situated. If your workplace layout is large and complex, you should locate several first aid kits throughout, so they are easy to get to in an emergency.
To practically decide where should the first aid kit be in a workplace, check if it takes more than 60 seconds to get between two areas. If this is the case, you will need more than one kit and for them to be positioned evenly throughout the workplace layout. You will also need a minimum of one first aid kit per floor that employees work on if it is a multi-level premises.
To decide where you should locate your first aid kits, remember that they must all be:
Signposted with a “first aid kit” sign above or nearby.
First aid kits could be mounted to the wall, kept on a countertop, or stored in a cabinet. Installing clearly visible first aid stations in the same area can make the kits easier to spot, too.
When attaching a first aid kit to a wall, keep in mind that it will be more difficult to take the first aid equipment to the casualty in need of first aid treatment if they aren’t mobile. This may mean that you should position more first aid kits in the area, so the equipment is closer and easier to take to the casualty in a hurry.
You will also need to factor in the work activities or equipment in your proposed first ait kit location. Make sure to keep the kits away from areas that could affect the integrity of the box and the substances or materials inside, so places where temperatures are high or where work activities create debris should be avoided.
How Many First Aid Kits are Required in the Workplace?
To know how many first aid kits should a workplace have, you will need to refer to the findings of your workplace first aid risk assessment. Take into account the following points to help you decide:
- Your workplace size:
You will need more first aid kits if your premises has a complex layout and/or multiple floors.
- Your workforce size:
You will need to cater for the number of staff on-site with a certain number of first aid kits depending on how many employees you have.
- Your workplace risk level:
The higher the risk of the work environment, the more first aid kits you will need.
HSE guidance separates business hazard levels into low or high-risk categories. Low-level hazard businesses include offices, schools, libraries and low-hazard retail shops, whereas high-level hazard businesses include warehouses, engineering sites, chemical factories, and businesses where hazardous equipment or heavy machinery is operated.
For example, a low-level hazard workplace would require four small first aid kits if they employed 100 people spread equally over 4 floors or areas of the premises. Whereas, a high-level hazard business with more than 25 employees on site at a time would required a minimum of 1 large first aid kit, though likely more dependent on the complexity of the workplace layout and how easy each first aid kit is to reach.
Remember that every first aid kit must have the necessary amount of each first aid item to accommodate the number of employees for which it’s designed, so regular first aid contents checklists should be completed, actioned and recorded.
As an employer, you may also need to provide some of your employees with their own personal travelling first aid kit, such as a vehicle first aid kit. This is because you are responsible for your employees off-site too, and first aid legal requirements will still apply if they travel frequently, work remotely or work alone. We cover the importance of providing a lone-worker kit on our blog.
Your first aid needs risk assessment must take into account the needs of your off-site employees. Depending on the nature of their work providing them with a lone worker first aid kit, taxi and public service vehicle first aid kit, childcare first aid kit, catering first aid kit, 40 piece first aid kit or larger 70 piece first aid kit could be necessary depending on the risk they face.
Also, where there is an increased risk of eye injury, burns, or scalds in your workplace, your workplace first aid needs would include the provision of burncare first aid kits, eyewash kits, and even the installation of an eyewash station in the premises to enable your staff to treat time-critical burns and eye injuries as quickly and effectively as possible.
To help you determine additional health and safety business obligations, we cover everything you need to know about burns kits and eyewash stations in our blog:
How Would You Recognise Your Workplace First Aid Kit?
So, now you know how to determine how many first aid kits are required in the workplace, and where to locate them, how would you recognise your workplace first aid kit in an emergency?
HSE guidance states that All first-aid containers should be identified by a white cross on a green background so you must ensure all your first aid kits are clearly labelled on their exterior.
However, while all British Standards-compliant first aid kits will be green-coloured and marked with a white cross, workplaces are also required to locate signage above or close by all first aid kits to increase visibility and awareness. A great way to ensure your workplace first aid kits are easy to spot, is to install first aid stations in all areas where first aid equipment is located. This not only makes it easy to find in an emergency, but will improve your workforce’s day-to-day awareness and preparedness for when first aid treatment could be needed as it provides clear guidance on how to use first aid equipment.
Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information: