Are your workplace first aid kits up to standard?

Whilst completing first aid needs assessments for our clients we noticed that they weren’t aware of how many first aid kits they should have and what should be in them… we thought we’d make you all aware!!!!


Are you compliant?

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 states that “when the assessment of first-aid requirements has been completed, the employer should provide the materials, equipment and facilities needed to make sure that the level of cover identified as necessary will be available to employees at all relevant times. This will include ensuring that first-aid equipment, suitably marked and easily accessible, is available in all places where working conditions require it.”

As part of your general risk assessment for your business you will have found out how many employees you have and what risk level you are classified in ie: Low of High. As part of your first aid needs assessment you will then determine the number of first aid kits you will need. To help match the level of workplace risk, the first aid kits are available in four sizes….small, medium, large and travel. Use the table below as a guide to help you understand what size first aid kit you will need.


Recommended size of kit:SmallMediumLargeTravel
Lower risk eg: Offices, shops and librariesLess than 25 employees25 - 100 employeesMore than 100 emplyeesPer vehicle
High Risk eg: Food processing, assembly work, warehousing, engineering, construction, manufacturing etcLess than 5 employees5 - 25 employeesMore than 25 employeesPer vehicle


The contents of a first aid kit are not mandatory as they will be determined by your industry type, number of employees and risk level. Following consultation with the HSE a new British Standard for workplace first aid kits (BS-8599) was introduced in 2011. The new kits contain some extra sensible items such as scissors, adhesive tape, burns dressings and sterile saline wipes that were not standard in earlier kits. Below is a guide on the minimum contents you should include in your first aid kits.


First Aid guidance leaflet1111
Contents list1111
Disposable gloves (pair)69121
Resuscitation face shield (with one way valve)1121
Hypoallergenic plasters (provide blue plasters for food handlers)406010010
Medium sterile dressing (12cm x 12cm)4681
Large sterile dressing (18cm x 18cm)1221
Eye pad sterile dressing2341
Finger sterile dressing234-
Burns dressing (10cm x 10cm)1221
Triangular bandage2341
Conforming bandage (7.5cm wide)1221
Alcohol free moist cleansing wipes2030404
Safety pins612242
Adhesive tape1111
Foil blanket1231
Sterile eye wash pods (250ml)---1
Scissors (suitable for cutting clothing inc leather)1111

Please be aware that where mains tap water is not readily available for eye washing, at least 1 litre of sterile water or saline should be provided.


For more information about The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 you can download or buy a copy here. For more information about our complimentary first aid needs assessment, please contact us or have a look at our Assessing your Workplace First Aid needs page.

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