Accidents are an inevitable part of life. How employers prepare for injury in the workplace is something that can be controlled. While first aid kits have always been a requirement in the workplace, the relevant standards have been expanded to allow employers greater access to necessary supplies based on the complexity of work and the level of hazard.
The National Safety Council has reported that 25% of all emergency room visits can be avoided with basic first aid and CPR certification. Sudden cardiac arrests account for 13% of all deaths on the job. And the cost to employers for the nearly 5 million workers who were injured on the job? Over $198 million!
Perhaps these staggering numbers are part of the reason why ANSI/ISEA prepared the new standard Z308.1-2015. Now employers can make determinations for what level of first aid will be beneficial to their facility or job site based on the hazards. Not every workplace has the same risks so first aid kits shouldn’t be one size fits all either. The standard update corrected a measurement conversion error related to antiseptic and antibiotic supplies, and also expanded first aid kits into two different classes and additional types. By assigning a competent person to ensure first aid kits are always stocked with the required refillable supplies, employees can rest assured that their workplace is prepared in the event of injury.
Additional Levels of First Aid Kits
- Class A: Treat the most common type of injuries
- Class B: Contain a broader range of supplies for high risk or more complex environments
- Types I, II, III, IV
- Type I: Indoor kits that will not be affected by the environment. These kits are meant to be mounted in a fixed position
- Type II: Indoor kits that can be portable via use of a handle
- Type III: Indoor/outdoor kits that are portable, but should have the means to be mounted and must have a water resistant seal. Outdoor use must be sheltered
- Type IV: Mobile industries and outdoor applications where environmental factors and rough handling is a factor and must pass tests for corrosion, impact and moisture. Often used in transportation, utility/construction industry and the armed forces
Other forms of First Aid:
Chain of Survival is a program that was developed by the American Heart Association in 1990 to promote the care for victims of sudden cardiac arrest through Early Access, Early CPR, Early Defibrillation and Early Advanced Cardiac Life Support. By strengthening the chain of care throughout the community from bystanders to emergency service personnel, responders have significantly increased chances of saving lives. From recognizing there is a cardiac situation, providing CPR and early defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED), even before emergency personnel arrive on scene, first responders greatly increase the victim’s chance of survival.
Importance of Employer Participation
It doesn’t matter what level of preparation a workplace has in place if an employer does not actively participate in the details of workplace safety. It is not enough to just buy a first aid kit and allow it to collect dust in a corner. Readiness and early first aid training may actually save someone’s life. By including first aid training in your facility you greatly enhance workplace safety and as a result, create a healthier and more productive environment.