What should a first aid kit in the workplace contain?
The decision on what to provide will be influenced by the findings of the first aid needs assessment. As a guide, where work activities involve low hazards, a minimum stock of first aid items might be:
- A leaflet giving general guidance on first aid (for example, HSE’s leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work).
- Individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of work (hypoallergenic plasters can be provided if necessary).
- Sterile eye pads.
- Individually wrapped triangular bandages; preferably sterile.
- Safety pins.
- Large sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings.
- Medium-sized sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings.
- Disposable gloves (for advice on latex gloves please see Selecting latex gloves).
This is only a suggested contents list.
Employers may wish to refer to British Standard BS 8599 which provides further information on the contents of workplace first aid kits.
Whether using a first aid kit complying with BS 8599 or an alternative kit, the contents should reflect the outcome of the first aid needs assessment.
It is recommended that you do not keep tablets and medicines in the first aid kit.
More advice is given in HSE’s free leaflet: First aid at work: your questions answered.
How often should the contents of first aid kits be replaced?
Although there is no specified review timetable, many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. They should be replaced by the dates given and expired items disposed of safely. In cases where sterile items have no dates, it would be advisable to check with the manufacturers to find out how long they can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, it is a matter of judgement, based on whether they are fit for purpose.