A good first aid kit is a must-have item at home, in your car, while travelling and in the workplace.
This is because first aid kits are often crucial in case of an accident or injury. Choosing the best first aid kit is not always the easiest thing to do because there are many types available.
When choosing a kit, it should cater to your needs and comply with safety regulations. In the case of the workplace, a first aid kit must comply with the various codes and laws relevant to the state or territory in which the workplace is located.
This guide will help you choose the best first aid kit for your home, vehicle or workplace.
How to Choose the Best First Aid Kit
- It must fit the purpose: When choosing a first aid kit, it must be suitable for its environment. For example, a home first aid kit will have basic items required to treat small injuries. It would also have items that cater to children if there are any.
In the workplace, you should keep the following in mind when choosing kits:
- The workplace size and layout
- Number of staff members
- Hazards in the workplace
- If the workplace is in a remote area
- Distance from hospitals and emergency rooms in the event of an emergency
- Have enough kits to cater to everyone, especially in the workplace: The kits must be well-stocked and easily accessible to everyone. Unlike the home kit, it would have items like a defibrillator to help in the event of a cardiac arrest. Some workplaces may have first aid rooms with more equipment and space for patients to rest or wait for an ambulance.
There are also first aid kits suitable for vehicles and the outdoors. They will usually be smaller and easy to store or carry. They will also possibly have a more durable box or a storage unit to prevent any damages.
- It should be easily accessible and recognisable: First aid kits must be clearly labelled, with the white cross against a green background. Workplace emergency drills teach employees to find first aid kits and AEDs within the building in case of an emergency.
- It should come in a durable storage pack: The best first aid kit usually comes in a durable storage unit. This is because it should be safe from damage and be able to withstand dirt, heat and mishandling. Alsco has first aid kits, which are limitlessly stocked, easy to use and wide-ranging, all for a small monthly or annual fee.
- It must be WHS compliant: When buying or renting the best first aid kits, you must make sure they are WHS compliant. This means you should follow the First Aid in the Workplace Code by ensuring all staff are aware of their location. A first aid officer should be present to assist in case of an emergency, and the kit must be well-stocked with the necessary items.
Must-Have Items for a First Aid Kit
When choosing WHS compliant first aid kits, the items should be able to cater for basic injuries like cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes, sprains, muscle strains, minor burns, major bleeding wounds, fractured bones, eye injuries and shock.
Some of the must-have items in your first aid kits should include:
- Bandages in varying sizes
- Permitted antibiotics to beat infections
- Saline solution to wash out open wounds and eyes
- Adhesive and tape
- Eye pads and gauzes for eye injuries
- Safety Pins
- Cleansing swabs
- Cold packs
- Disposable gloves
- Instruction guide for emergency treatment
A defibrillator or AED is a necessity for workplace first aid. Its main purpose is to help patients suffering from cardiac arrest. This is crucial because a cardiac arrest patient must be taken care of within the first five minutes to improve their chances of survival.
How to Get the Most Out of Your First Aid Kit
- Carry out a risk assessment in the workplace. Each type of workplace has different types of hazards that workers face. Doing an assessment will enable you to provide the best first aid kit for each situation.
For example, in workplaces with chemical hazards, you must have an eyewash station to flush out the eyes in case of an accident. This assessment also gives you an idea of how many kits you require and if your company also needs a first aid room.
- Regular training for staff and first aid officers is crucial. In Australia, anyone can administer first aid. In the case of the workplace, you are required to have a first aid officer for every 25 staff members in high-risk workplaces, or per 50 people in low-risk ones. For this to work, organise regular training and drills at the workplace to equip staff to handle emergencies.
- Regular kit maintenance is important. All kits must be checked regularly to ensure they’re ready for use. For example, an AED must be checked regularly to make sure that it is fully functioning. Alsco also offers AED maintenance and supplies to companies for a minimal fee.
- The first aid officer must check the first aid kits regularly. Emergencies are inevitable, which means kits must be ready for use. Regular item checks will help you find out what needs to be trashed or replaced.
- Items such as bandages, gauze, gloves, saline solution and antiseptic can either weaken or lose its sterility. Consider a managed rental service that will conduct unlimited checks and restocking for a minimal annual fee.
- There must be clear signage directing people to where they can access a first aid kit. This should also be part of the staff training. Other types of clear signage you must have should point people towards the emergency exits, the eyewash station and the AED.
- Have first aid procedures in place. According to the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice its a good idea to make sure all first aid officers across all shifts are identified, complete with names and contact numbers.
- Companies must also have communication procedures in case of an emergency. This is important especially for workers in an isolated work area. The communication process must also include how to report an emergency, who to contact first (with focus on first aid officers) and so on.
There are various types of first aid kits available to handle any type of emergency. In the event of a serious accident, call 000 for an ambulance as you administer first aid. Remember, having a well-equipped first aid kit can be the first step to saving a life.