Have you updated your first aid kits?

The workplace has radically changed in the past decade, yet the official guidance on first aid kits has remained static under the Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. A review in 1997 resulted in the updated publication of an Approved Code of Practice. However, after almost 15 years, it was evident that further investigation had become overdue.

That review has taken place, resulting in a significant change to contents being recommended in June 2011. Full implementation came into effect on January1st2014. The new BS8599-1 kits are radically improved to meet current hazards and risks and take into account the development of innovative products that didn’t exist back in 1997. Please read on for help in deciding if your kits remain fit for purpose against the new standards. 

What does the law state?

Under the health & safety (first aid) regulations revised in 2013

“An employer shall provide or ensure that there are provided such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work.”

How to make sure you meet the new BS8599-1 Standard...

1. Undertake a First Aid needs assessment:

LOW RISK (e.g. shops, offices, libraries etc.)

HIGH RISK (e.g. light engineering and assembly work, food processing, warehousing, extensive work with dangerous machinery or sharp instruments, construction, chemical manufacture etc.).

2. Based on risk, choose the appropriate British Standard First Aid Kit:

LOW RISK Less than 25 employees
HIGH RISK Less than five employees
LOW RISK 25-100 employees
HIGH RISK 5-25 employees
LOW RISK 1 Large Kit per 100 employees
HIGH RISK 1 Large Kit per 25 employees

What does the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Say? 

"Employers may wish to refer to British Standard BS8599 which provides further information on the contents of workplace first aid kits. Whether using a first aid kit complying to BS8599 or an alternative kit, the contents should reflect the outcome of a first aid needs assessment."