OSHA & ANSI Compliance Checklist:
First Aid Kit Requirements in the Workplace
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and had been updated to reflect 2020 compliance standards.
What’s in your workplace first aid cabinets?
Expired bandages? Tampered eyewash solution? Missing mouth barrier?
Having unexpired and in-stock supplies at your facility is critical to employee safety.
When evaluating your first aid cabinet needs, be sure to address the five major areas of first aid. You should also be familiar with ANSI and OSHA standards.
This article provides a comprehensive checklist of what to include in your First Aid cabinets and kits at your workplace.
Jump ahead to a section by clicking on a button below.
1. Five Major Areas of First Aid
To get started, let’s look at the five major areas of first aid with a few examples.
- Major injury or trauma: Scissors, gauze pads, tourniquet, mouth barrier
- Minor injury (such as a cut or scrape): Adhesive bandages, antiseptic spray, cold compress
- Eyecare: Eyewash stations, refill solution [Eyewash station checklist]
- Employee Comfort: Cold relief, allergy relief, headache relief, antacids
- Burn Care: Burn dressing, burn spray, burn cream
When assembling your first aid cabinets and kits, be sure to address each of these first aid categories.
2. OSHA vs. ANSI
In very simple terms, ANSI sets the standard while OSHA enforces the standard for workplace first aid compliance.
According to OSHA, ANSI standards become mandatory OSHA standards only when, and if, they are adopted by OSHA. While OSHA often refers employers to ANSI Z308.1 as a source of guidance for the minimum requirements for first aid kits, they have not yet adopted the standard.
Let’s take a closer look at both OSHA and ANSI.
OSHA does not require specific first aid kits for general industry, but states in 29 CFR 1910.151(b), “Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.”
All industries are required to comply with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151 regardless of the type of work performed by employees; however, the hazards and related first aid required would be different for offices (low-risk environment) than, for example, steel mills (high-risk environment).
In other words, your first aid program must correspond to the hazards which can be reasonably expected to occur in the workplace. Thus, you should evaluate the potential work-related hazards and provide for first aid accordingly.
Below are some OSHA First Aid best practices:
- Conduct a risk assessment and design a first aid program specific to your worksite(s)
- Estimate Emergency Medical Response times for all locations and all times of day and night
- Put policies and procedures in writing, and communicate to all employees on a regular basis
- Address first aid training needs. First-aid courses should be individualized to the needs of the workplace. First-aid training should be repeated periodically to maintain and update knowledge and skills. Outdated training and reference materials should be replaced or removed.
- Designate a first aid leader. Give a specific person the responsibility for choosing the types and amounts of first-aid supplies and for maintaining these supplies.
- Supplies should reflect the kinds of injuries that occur at your workplace
- Supplies must be stored in an area where they are readily available for emergency access.
- Review the first-aid program periodically to determine if it continues to address the needs of the workplace.
- Monitor changes in workplace safety, health hazards, and worker schedules. Training, supplies, equipment and first-aid policies should be added or modified to account for any of these changes at your company.
- Consider an automated external defibrillator (AED) when selecting first-aid supplies and equipment.
- Consult with the local fire and rescue service or emergency medical professionals may be beneficial.
ANSI (The American National Standard Institute) provides a list of non-mandatory minimum requirements for workplace first aid kits. ANSI Z308.1 contains detailed information regarding the type and quantity of first aid supplies needed for most types of injuries and sudden illnesses encountered in the workplace including major wounds, minor wounds (cuts and abrasions), minor burns, sprains and strains, and eye injuries.
ANSI was last updated on June 17, 2015.
3. ANSI First Aid Cabinet Checklists
The list of recommended first aid supplies in the most recently updated 2015 ANSI standard were chosen based on a review of increased workplace incidents requiring first aid treatment, similar international standards, and current practices in treating injuries.
The ANSI lists are divided into two categories – Class A and Class B.
In deciding which class is more appropriate for your workplace, you should consider the following
- Potential severity and likelihood of occurrence
- Whether multiple first aid kits are needed based on the number of employees
- Physical layout of the work environmental
- The remoteness of your worksite to emergency services
First Aid Cabinets – Class A
Class A is recommended for common workplace injuries, such as minor cuts, abrasions, and sprains. Typical industries include an office, warehouse, light assembly or packaging.
While we list the recommended quantities below, it’s important to note that ITU AbsorbTech’s First Aid service will stock more than the recommended quantities.
Let’s say the requirement is to have 1 eye wash solution in your cabinet. Eventually, the eyewash solution will get used (or perhaps tampered with). The incident may or may not be reported.
The moment the eyewash solution gets used, you are in non-compliance with your cabinet.
Therefore, unless you plan to monitor your cabinets on a daily basis, you should stock your cabinets with an adequate supply above the required amount so that if an item is used, you are still in compliance until restocking occurs.
Minimum Requirements for First Aid Kits (Class A):
First Aid Cabinets – Class B
Class B is recommended for more complex injuries or high-risk environments. Typical
industries include industrial manufacturing, welding, woodworking, fabrication or printers.
The same caution about quantities (explained above) also applies to Class B cabinets. Unless you plan to monitor your cabinets on a daily basis, you should stock your cabinets with an adequate supply above the required amount so that if an item is used, you are still in compliance until restocking occurs.
Minimum Requirements for First Aid Kits (Class B):
ANSI also recommends these additional supplies:
- Analgesic (Oral) – should not cause drowsiness
- Bandage Compress 2″ x 36″ min
- Breathing Barrier, single use
- Burn Dressing, 12 sq. inch min.
- Cold Pack 4″ x 5″ min.
- Eye Covering, ¼” thick min.
- Eye Wash, sterile 4 fl. oz. min.
- Roller Bandage 2″ x 4 yd. min.
- Hand Sanitizer
While the contents of the first aid kit listed in ANSI Z308.1 may be adequate for most worksites, larger operations and high-risk industries should consider additional first aid kits, additional types of first aid equipment, and first aid supplies in larger quantities.
You may wish to consult your local fire and rescue department, an appropriate medical professional, your local OSHA area office, or a first aid supplier like ITU AbsorbTech First Aid, for assistance in putting together a first aid kit which suits the needs of your workplace.
4. Where Should My Cabinets Be Installed?
The purpose of the OSHA and ANSI standards is to assure that adequate first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care for the injured employee.
The term “readily available” is not defined in the OSHA standard. However, responding in a timely manner can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, the person who has been trained to render first aid must be able to quickly access the first aid supplies in order to effectively provide injured or ill employees with first aid attention.
The first aid supplies should be installed in an easily accessible area, and the first aid provider generally should not have to travel through several doorways, hallways and/or stairways to access first aid supplies.
A good rule of thumb is to add a first aid cabinet if you have a change in elevation, or change in department (depending on department size).
It’s also a good idea to please the first aid cabinet near a sink so that you can easily wash and sanitize hands. While a cafeteria or breakroom might seem like a good idea, OSHA says you should not have first aid in an area where you will eat. A great place to hang your first aid cabinets is near a wash fountain located right outside your employee locker rooms.
5. Specialty Kits
Beyond general first aid kits and cabinets, you may want to consider these specialty kits for your worksite, if appropriate.
- Vehicle and truck kits are needed by the ever-growing service industry with employees and service vehicles on the road, including transportation businesses such as package and freight delivery, and shuttle service, sanitation, utility, repair services, park and recreation, landscaping, and the list goes on and on.
- In the United States, vehicle accidents are the number one cause of disabling injuries.
- Providing timely first aid treatment for illness and injuries is a cost-effective business practice. Future medical care costs often are often are reduced, productivity is increased, and legal expenses from lawsuits due to negligence or non-compliance are reduced.
- Burn kits work great in restaurants, at battery charging stations, and in metal fabrication shops.
- First responder kits help your customers deal with accidents. Infection control kits are ideal for handling bodily fluid clean-up and disposal.
6. Employee Training and Emergency Response
OSHA recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in first aid, including CPR.
First-aid courses should be individualized to the needs of the workplace. First-aid training should be repeated periodically to maintain and update knowledge and skills. Outdated training and reference materials should be replaced or removed.
OSHA’s Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals for First Aid in the Workplace covers the requirements and importance of setting up a first aid program at your company. One of the best ways to meet their standards is to organize a volunteer team and provide training and supplies that are specific to your onsite hazards. Learn more about Emergency Response Teams.
7. How Often Should I Inspect Our First Aid Cabinets?
You should periodically assess your cabinets and increase your supplies as need
ed. OSHA recommends that you give a specific person the responsibility for maintaining your first aid supplies. While OSHA does not state how often to inspect your supplies they do recommend the following:
- The supplies must be adequate, should reflect the kinds of injuries that occur, and must be stored in an area where they are readily available for emergency access.
- The first-aid program should be reviewed periodically to determine if it continues to address the needs of the specific workplace.
We recommend that you inspect your cabinets at least monthly, but this depends on your risk environment and typical usage. In some cases, every other week and weekly make more sense. Cabinets should also be inspected any time a workplace injury has occurred. You should check for expired products, tampered products, and products that are missing or low in stock.
8. Why Use a First Aid Service Company
A First Aid Service Management Company like ITU AbsorbTech First Aid offers a solution to OSHA’s recommendation of having a knowledgeable person assess the risks of your workplace, design an appropriate first aid program, manage first aid supplies on a regular basis, ensure supplies are readily available, and review the program periodically to determine if it continues to address the needs of the specific workplace.
ITU AbsorbTech First Aid uses the following proven approach to help customers achieve a safe work environment and greater productivity protection:
- Identify the customer’s first aid and safety needs and provide them with a detailed recommendation.
– to ensure proper implementation and maintenance of the customer’s approved first aid and safety program.
- Maintain appropriate product inventory levels so needed items are always available.
- Supply the customer a durable first aid cabinet and the highest quality first aid, training, and safety products.
- Constantly monitor the quality of our service delivery to ensure continuing total customer satisfaction.
Contact us to learn more about our simple pricing and transparent service.