What first aid facilities do you need in the workplace? Clive Grinnell looks at best practice in kitting out a first aid room…
If someone is injured or becomes ill at work, it’s important you have the equipment and facilities to provide them with the instant care and attention they need.
Most existing workplaces will already have a dedicated first aid space, but businesses expanding their site footprint or moving to new premises will want to be aware of current guidelines and best practice in first aid room design, and to incorporate them into their plans.
First aid room requirements: what does the law say?
The Healthy and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state that: “Employers should provide a suitable first aid room or rooms where the assessment of first aid needs identifies this as necessary.”
It isn’t always necessary for businesses to reserve a room on their premises uniquely for administering first aid, but employers are required by law to identify a dedicated room or rooms that can be immediately given over to someone needing first aid when required.
This dedicated space should be easily accessible by all, large enough to accommodate an examination couch and store the necessary first aid kit, and be positioned as close as possible to an exit of the building with space outside for an ambulance to park in case transport to hospital is required. It should have adequate heating, ventilation and lighting, and be equipped with washable surfaces and a sink with hot and cold running water.
First aid rooms should be clearly identified by white lettering or symbols on a green background, and signposted from around the workplace. They should be kept clean, tidy, accessible and available for use at any time when employees are at work – and a designated person should be responsible for supervising them.
First aid room contents
The exact contents of a workplace first aid room will differ depending on the industry and the type of work carried out on site. Where sites have a large footprint, multiple rooms may need to be provided.
To determine what first aid equipment should be supplied, employers should conduct a first aid needs assessment looking at the specific hazards and risks in their workplace and what they would need in the event of an accident or injury occurring.
Find out more: Book a first aid needs assessment with our team.
Kitting out a first aid room: the essentials
Most workplaces will need to ensure their first aid room contains the following:
- A suitable first aid kit – Find out how to choose the right first aid kit for your needs
- A list of trained first aiders that can be contacted in the event of an emergency, including their locations and contact details
- An accident report book to record details of the patient, treatment given and reasons for that treatment.
The majority of workplaces will also want to provide the following:
- Eye wash dispenser
- Examination bench with an easy-to-clean metal frame and vinyl padded upholstery
- Medicine cabinet
- First aid posters
- Soap and paper towels
- Disposable hygiene paper roll
- PPE such as disposable gloves and aprons
- Pillows and blankets
- Disposable pillowcases
- Disposable vomit bowls
- Foot-operated bins lined with disposable plastic bags, including one for clinical waste
- A pharmacy fridge, providing a dedicated space for storage of employees’ medicines and ointments
- Access to drinking water, and disposable cups.