Accidents don't give a warning before they happen, so it's always a good idea to be prepared in the event of a minor emergency with all the tools that could be required.
Having a dedicated workplace first aid cabinet is a great way to do this and ensures your business is compliant with all the relevant health and safety legislation.
What is the importance of a first aid cabinet?
It is a legal duty of employers to have arrangements in place for administering first aid to staff. The Health and Safety Regulations 1981 require all employers to provide adequate and appropriate first aid equipment to ensure that employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work - preventing minor injuries from becoming major ones and possibly saving lives.
To find out which kind of equipment you should keep on site, you will need to carry out a first aid assessment. This should take into account the type and level of hazards, the workplace environment and the number of employees.
Better workplace environment
Creating a healthy workplace atmosphere is also important, no matter which business you are in. Providing first aid training courses and a fully stocked first aid cabinet to your employees shows that you care.
Not to mention that employees trained in first aid would understand the steps to take during an emergency and respond quickly. This faster response is key in an emergency and can help to save lives.
Keeping your dedicated first aid cabinet well-stocked and within accessible reach to workers can help them feel safe and secure when working.
Training in first aid will also teach workers how to use first aid kits properly and to remain calm during an emergency. These abilities are necessary for providing first aid to others and could also help buy time before help arrives for workers who work alone or in small groups.
Reducing the severity of injuries
Even for non-fatal injuries, the severity and recovery period can be reduced by administering first aid and this can only be done with the correct equipment.
There are many instances where a fast response could make the difference between life and death - such as a severe allergic reaction - and so having a dedicated workplace first aid cabinet with an epi-pen could save someone's life while the emergency services arrive.
What should a first cabinet include?
Your work's first aid cabinet's contents should be guided by your assessment of the potential risks in your particular working environment. But it should contain all the basic, necessary equipment needed to treat superficial injuries that don't require emergency attention and to provide initial care for more serious incidents while you wait for emergency assistance. This includes:
- Sterile dressings - including individually wrapped wound or adhesive dressings and plasters
- Bandages - such as roller, triangular or tubular bandages
- A thermometer (preferably digital) - to take and record body temperatures
- Personal protective items (PPE) - including gloves and/or a plastic face shield or pocket mask
- Cleansing alcohol-free wipes - to clean the skin around the wound
- Gauze pads - to use as padding, or as swabs to clean around the wounds
- Sterile eye pads - to provide initial protection from possible infection
- Adhesive tape - to hold dressings in place or to hold the loose end of bandages
- Scissors - used to cut bandages or sticky tape or someone's clothing if you need to get to a wound
- Pins and clips - to fasten loose ends of bandages
- Antiseptic cream - for minor scratches, bites and stings
- Skin rash cream - such as a mild topical steroid (1% hydrocortisone)
- Aluminium blanket - used to help retain body heat in survival, emergency and first aid situations
- A leaflet that provides general guidance on first aid
Of course, the list of items that you could include in your first aid kit is endless, especially taking into account the type of workplace where the kit will be stored and the age range of people most likely to use it.
You could even purchase a basic first aid kit from a chemist and add personal items to it as you wish from prescription medication to anti-allergy shots. This way you can create your own specialised first cabinet that is tailored to your workplace.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk