Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First Aid Refills

Have you ever had a small workplace emergency and needed the first aid kit. Yet, after opening it you find that there are no more of the item you need or that the item you need is there but, has expired.

This is a frustrating problem that takes place at many workplaces. OSHA requires workplaces to have first aid kits available (29 CFR 1910.151) and requires them to be adequately stocked and in-date. If you don't have one, then you first need to purchase an appropriate sized first aid kit. or first aid cabinet. If you need help selecting a kit, please read our recent post about OSHA required first aid kits.

If you already have a first aid kit, then you probably need to make sure it is full and all of the items are in-date. You should probably check the contents about once each month. If the kits are used frequently, then you may need to check it more often.

Each first aid kit should come with a listing of contents. This checklist should make it relatively easy to determine what is missing. Additionally, each expiring item should have a date indicating when that item needs to be replaced. First aid refill items can be obtained from a variety of sources. The internet provides the most economical source for these items. Here is a link to the first aid kits refills from National Safety Compliance. You may order individual items or complete kit refills.

There are several companies that sell first aid kits and refills by promising to come to your location on a monthly basis to check your cabinets for you. While this sounds like a great service. Please note that most of the companies charge 3 or 4 times more for the same items. Most employers who compare prices find that it is worth the 5 minutes per cabinet, per month, just to do it themselves.

If you have any questions about first aid kits, please feel free to contact us toll-free at 1-877-922-7233 or sinply comment on this blog post.

Friday, December 26, 2008

OSHA Required First Aid Kits

Many people contact us at National Safety Compliance and inquire about what items are needed in their workplace first aid kit or first aid cabinet. This common question is vaguely answered by the OSHA regulations.

The OSHA regulations state in 29 CFR 1910.151

"In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available."

The OSHA regulations give the employer the responsibility for determining "adequate." National Safety Compliance recommends that each workplace review previous injuries and determine what first aid supplies were needed. The employer should then purchase a first aid kit or first aid cabinet to meet those needs. More than one kit may be needed at each workplace. When determining first aid kit needs, employers should also consider vehicles and remote worksites.

"Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."

OSHA requires eye wash stations or emergency showers be available where employees are exposed to corrosive chemicals. Common corrosives include batteries, cleaning supplies and manufacturing chemicals. Small bottles of eye wash are not adequate to meet the OSHA requirements. An eye wash station capable of flushing the eyes continuously for 15 minutes is required. Here is an example of an eye wash station.

1910.151 - Appendix A
"If it is reasonably anticipated that employees will be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials while using first aid supplies, employers are required to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in compliance with the provisions of the Occupational Exposure to Blood borne Pathogens standard, § 1910.1030(d)(3) (56 FR 64175). This standard lists appropriate PPE for this type of exposure, such as gloves, gowns, face shields, masks, and eye protection. "

Most emergencies requiring first aid also expose employee to bloodborne pathogens. It is therefore important that employers also provide a bloodborne pathogens kit with their first aid kits. These kits provide the necessary PPE and clean-up items to safely deal with workplace bloodborne pathogens.

Employers are also responsible for refilling and maintaining their first aid kits, first aid cabinets, eye wash stations and bloodborne pathogens kits. Many of the items in the kits will expire, so periodic inspection is necessary. Complete first aid kit refills are also available.