Ensuring there are sufficient first aid kits in a workplace is an important element of emergency planning and preparedness. Workplace incidents requiring first aid range widely in frequency and severity, from minor cuts and scrapes to major injuries. Having basic first-aid supplies available is required by Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for most employers. Explore this guide to learn what OSHA requires for first aid kits and how to ensure you’re following applicable standards in your workplace.

Does OSHA Require First-Aid Kits?

Yes, OSHA does require first aid kits in the workplace, but their recommendations state only that first aid kits should be “adequate” and “readily available.” Beyond the presence of supplies, the OSHA First Aid standard also requires trained first aid providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace¹. For some specific industries, there are also requirements for having a trained CPR provider. 

Standard First Aid Kit Contents List

What does “adequate” mean when it comes to first aid kits in the workplace? OSHA offers the following standard list of requirements for compliant first aid kits¹: 

  • Gauze pads ( 4 x 4 inches)
  • Two large gauze pads (8 x 10 inches)
  • Box of adhesive bandages
  • One package of a roll of gauze, at least 2 inches wide
  • Two triangular bandages
  • Wound cleaning agent
  • Scissors
  • At least one blanket
  • Tweezers
  • Adhesive tape
  • Latex gloves
  • Resuscitation equipment (resuscitation bag, airway, or pocket mask)
  • Two elastic wraps
  • Splint
  • Directions for requesting emergency assistance

These first-aid kit box requirements are meant for a small work site with approximately 2 to 3 employees. Larger worksites will require proportionately more supplies to meet the minimum requirements for first aid kits in the workplace.

Tips for First Aid Kit Placement

OSHA offers minimum specificity in its placement and signage guidelines for first aid kits. However, it is clear that using a facility safety sign is the best way to show employees where first aid kits are located and the quickest, easiest way to reach them. Follow these guidelines for placement and visual cues for first aid kits in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other industrial workplaces.

First Aid Kit Location Requirements

According to OSHA, first aid kits should be readily available, but the interpretation of what exactly this means is left up to the individual employer. In general, it is understood that first aid providers should not have to travel through several doorways, hallways, or stairways to access supplies, and the location of the kit should not be blocked or obstructed by equipment, boxes, or other obstacles. Visual cues are ideal solutions for bringing attention to first aid kit placement, as well as providing reminders to keep areas unobstructed.

First Aid Kit Signage Guidelines

While anyone trained to provide first aid should be aware of how and where to access emergency supplies, having the first aid kit location clearly marked helps meet the requirement that it is “readily accessible” when needed. According to ANSI color standards, green signage indicates health and safety information or first aid. Consider these approaches to adequately label the location of a first aid kit:

  • Use durable wall and floor signs to clearly indicate where a first aid kit is located.
  • Place directional floor signage along the path of access to show employees the quickest way to find a first aid kit.
  • Indicate “do not block” and “keep clear” areas in front of a first aid kit with repeating message floor tape or a pre-cut kit

Who Is Responsible for the Maintenance and Stocking of First Aid Kits?

Neil Diggins, an N.C. Labor Department Safety Standard Officer in the Occupational Health and Safety Division, advises that an employer should give a specific person responsibility for distributing, stocking, and checking on first aid kits. To whom that responsibility falls is up to the discretion of the employer.

Beyond First-Aid Kits: Emergency Planning in the Workplace

Having sufficient well-stocked first aid kits is just one component of a cohesive workplace emergency plan. Employees, managers, and supervisors should be trained in how to respond in the event of medical situations but also general emergencies, and industrial floor marks are a simple but effective way to comply with regulations and improve overall health and safety in the workplace.

Other Facility Health and Safety Considerations

Beyond first aid kits, these important apparatus—and accompanying signage—can help ensure your workplace or industrial facility is prepared for emergencies.

  • Eyewash Stations: Eyewash station requirements stipulate that the area in front of the apparatus be kept clear for easy access—provide easy reminders to employees by applying floor tape or pre-cut marking kits to designate areas that must be unobstructed.
  • AED Locations: AEDS, or Automatic External Defibrillators, should be centrally located and placed in high-traffic areas and high-risk locations. They should be easy to see and locate, making it imperative to use appropriate signage and visual cues for maximum visibility.
  • Exit Routes: Some emergencies require immediate first aid or medical treatment, while others may require a quick exit or evacuation. Clearly marked exit routes ensure that employees, injured or otherwise, can safely and efficiently leave the workplace in the event of an emergency.

High-quality, durable floor tape, markings, and signage are essential in ensuring the safety of your workplace, and can be part of a comprehensive plan for preparedness in the event of an emergency. Use floor markings and other signage to indicate the location of first aid kits and other health and safety considerations. For more on best practices in workplaces, warehouses, and industrial facilities, explore our Resource Center.


1. OSHA § 1910.151, https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.151
2. OSHA Appendix A to § 1910.266, https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.266AppA