As part of the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health’s mission to improve the overall working environment for all Western Australians, you are required to provide first aid facilities in your workplace. You should use this opportunity now to look around your workplace and check whether you have suitable first aid supplies in place, know where your first aid kit is, and have an understanding of which employees in your workplace possess the appropriate first aid training.
Workplace first aid risk assessment
The first thing to do when looking at the best first aid kit to match your office is to establish the overall risk rating of your workplace. The first aid requirements in your workplace will vary to everyone else, so you must consider first what type of work is primarily being carried out and the specific hazards that you might expect to see in the workplace.
The location and size of your workplace will also factor into this first aid risk assessment as if you are working in a more remote area, the emergency response time will be longer, than if you were in a CBD office space.
After reviewing these factors you can decide on whether your workplace is low, moderate or high risk, and make the necessary arrangements to provide appropriate first aid kits and training to cover these risks.
If your workplace is considered to be of low risk, this means that your employees are not typically exposed to hazards or scenarios where a serious injury or illness could occur. Typical workplaces of low risk include normal office spaces, libraries or in retail shops.
Workplaces with larger amounts of people where workers are exposed to potentially dangerous hazards, such as in mining, construction or manufacturing, are considered to be high risk. For example, workers on a busy loading dock would be frequently exposed to a range of different hazardous conditions. You’ll need to make sure that these risks are controlled through a combination of top quality first aid kits and a thorough risk management plan.
What should be included in the first aid kit?
For low-risk offices, you can choose a low-risk first aid kit that would typically contain some of the following medical supplies:
- First Aid Booklet
- Antiseptic Spray
- Ice pack
- CPR flow chart card
- Gauze swabs
- Thermal blanket
- Safety Pins
You should have someone that regularly monitors the contents of this first aid kit to make sure that the supplies are topped up when used, as well as ensuring that the products are safe and in their use-by dates. This same person should preferably be trained in first aid procedures, and know about how to use the products in these kits.
All employers have the responsibility to let employees know of the location of first aid facilities and equipment, as well as the names and numbers of those with first aid training. You’ll want to ensure that structured procedures are in place allowing workers to apply the necessary first aid or contact external assistance when you need extra assistance.
Selecting and providing the necessary training to employees in your workplace is an essential part of your workplace safety. These employees should understand the types of hazards in the workplace and have a sound knowledge of the typical types of injuries that could occur. The level of risk in your workplace and the number of employees you have will determine what type of training is required as well as the number of people who should be receiving this training.
Preferably these employees should volunteer to undergo the first aid training and the responsibilities that this involves. If possible, this first aid training should be done by an accredited first aid training provider that can come into the workplace and conduct a specific course for these workers.
Buying a suitable first aid kit
Once you’ve set up the proper procedures, you’ll need to purchase the correct workplace first aid kits helping to ensure your office is appropriately set up to deal with any medical issues that you may encounter. You’ll need to check that the first aid kit is compliant to appropriate state regulations, as well as meeting national Occupation Health & Safety standards.
Depending on the needs of your office, you may choose to purchase portable workplace response kits or metal cabinet kits which can be installed in the most suitable space in your office. You should also make sure to include any additional products that you specifically need for your workplace.
Wherever you decide to place the first aid kit, it needs to be kept in a clean and dry environment, where it is protected from contamination. You’ll need to make sure that the kit contains suitable instructions for dealing with certain injuries, as well as instructions on the care for the first aid instruments inside.