Your coworker suddenly passes out, hitting his head on the floor. What do you do?

An employee cuts their finger on the edge of some metal shelving – it’s bleeding profusely. What do you do?

A truck driver slips and falls on a loading dock. She can’t get up. Does anyone in your department know what kind of first aid to implement?

Unless you work in a health care-related workplace, typical employees don’t want to be responsible for co-workers in life or death situations. And while most situations that require first aid at your place of employment will not be that serious, having basic first-aid supplies available is an OSHA requirement for most employers.

The OSHA First Aid standard (29CFR 1910.51) requires trained first aid providers at all workplaces of any size if there is no infirmary, clinic or hospital in near proximity to the workplace. There are also some requirements for having a trained CPR provider in some specific industries.

OSHA is pretty vague in requiring first-aid kits – only stating they should be “adequate.”

Neil Diggins, an N.C. Labor Department Safety Standard Officer in the Occupational Health and Safety Division says OSHA does offer a list of standard first aid kit supplies – meant for a small work site. “If you have a larger work site, of course you’d need numerous kits spread throughout the work site,” Diggins says.

The supplies recommended for a first aid kit include: 

  • Gauze pads (4×4)
  • Large gauze pads (8×10)
  • 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 (air bag, mouth mask)
  • Two elastic wraps
  • Splint
  • Directions for requesting emergency assistance

Diggins advises that an employer should give a specific person responsibility for distributing, stocking and checking on first aid kits. “Have a person regularly stocking the kits and making sure they’re where they’re supposed to be is important.”

Using a sign to show employees where first aid kits are located is the best way to make sure they are easy to find. InSite Solutions stocks a variety of floor signs and floor tapes to direct employees to first aid kits – as well as first aid kits. Check them all out here.