Workplace First Aid Cabinets – What You Need to Know to Protect Employees and Stay Compliant
When an employee is injured on the job, time is of the essence. Even for minor cuts and bruises, being able to respond quickly and efficiently with proper first aid positively impacts injury outcomes. Your team must be able to easily access a workplace first aid cabinet to act rapidly in the event of a workplace injury. Employees who spend extra time searching for first aid items such as band-aids, gauze, or ice packs negatively affect the injured employee and your team’s overall productivity.
Having fully stocked first aid cabinets at your workplace makes it fast and easy for anyone to administer basic first aid to themselves or a co-worker. Here’s what you need to know about your workplace first aid cabinet.
First Aid Cabinet Requirements
OSHA’s (Occupational, Health & Safety Administration) general duty clause states that employees must be provided a safe and healthy workplace that is reasonably free of occupational hazards. But it’s unrealistic to expect that accidents and incidents won’t occur, even in the safest environments. OSHA requires that employers provide adequate medical and first aid supplies. The exact supplies required are dependent on the work environment, and there are specific standards for general industry, maritime, and construction.
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has also established minimum requirements for first aid cabinets. While ANSI standards are not required, there are more than 20 states that have adopted ANSI standards as their state requirement for first aid cabinet contents. OSHA refers to ANSI requirements as a guideline for the minimum requirement for workplace first aid cabinet contents.
First Aid Cabinet Contents
Workplace first aid can encompass a variety of triage activities, from wound care to removing foreign bodies from the eye using irrigation or a cotton swab to a cold compress in the case of a muscle sprain or bone fracture. OSHA directs employers to the ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2021 for the minimum required workplace first aid cabinet contents. These items include:
- Adhesive bandage
- Adhesive tape
- Antibiotic application
- Breathing barrier
- Burn dressing (gel soaked)
- Burn treatment
- Cold pack
- Eye covering (with means of attachment)
- Eye/skin wash
- First aid guide
- Hand sanitizer
- Medical exam gloves
- Roller bandage (2 inch)
- Roller bandage (4 inch)
- Sterile pad
- Trauma pad
- Triangular bandage
You may want to consider a larger quantity of first aid equipment and first aid supplies in each cabinet if you have many employees or multiple operations.
First Aid Cabinet Location
OSHA requires that workplace first-aid cabinets be “readily available.” Although “readily available” is not defined in the standard, a later interpretation of the standard clarified that “The first aid supplies should be located in an easily accessible area, and the first aid provider generally should not have to travel through several doorways, hallways and/or stairways to access first aid supplies.”
First aid cabinets are a great alternative to a bag or container. Cabinets are easy to spot and easy to access – no digging through cupboards or storage areas. They can be hung on the wall in prominent locations throughout your workplace. When it comes to first aid cabinets, you are better off having more than necessary versus not enough.
First Aid Cabinet Maintenance
If your workplace first aid cabinet does not have adequate first aid materials in the event of an accident or incident, you could be cited by OSHA and fined. Workplace first aid cabinets should be regularly inspected to ensure they are fully stocked. After an emergency event, any used items should be replaced immediately. First aid cabinet contents should be well labeled and organized so responders can quickly and easily identify the materials and grab what they need.
Plymate’s first aid cabinet program makes keeping employees safe and your workplace OSHA compliant easier. Our cost-effective first aid program ensures that you have the first aid supplies you need when you need them, saving you time and money. Take the weight off your shoulders and trust your first aid cabinet needs to Plymate. Our program includes:
- Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly delivery/check-in
- Supplies dispense one at a time, controlling excess usage and overstocking
- Regular inventory inspections
- SmartCompliance™ organizes first aid supplies uniformly in all cabinets
- Meets or exceeds OSHA first aid regulations