Thursday, January 6, 2011

Locked First Aid Kits or First Aid Cabinets

Question: May an employer lock first aid kits or cabinets, or lock the room containing first aid supplies?

Reply: Yes, first aid supplies can be locked; however, they must be readily accessible in the event of an emergency. Locking them may limit accessibility. OSHA regulations 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states: "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."

Employers may elect not to provide first aid services if all such services will be provided by a hospital, infirmary, or clinic in near proximity(3 minutes or less) to the workplace. If the employer has persons who are trained in first aid, then adequate first aid supplies must be readily available for use. These supplies need to be stored in a convenient area available for emergency access.

However, if OSHA found that an employer was relying on first aid services not provided by a clinic, infirmary, or hospital and adequate first aid supplies were not available when needed, then the employer would be in violation of 29 CFR 1910.151(b).