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Two classes of first aid kits introduced
The industry consensus standard on workplace first aid kits has been revised to meet the needs of more-diverse worksites, according to the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), the organization responsible for the changes.
ISEA received American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval for ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2014, the national standard on minimum requirements for workplace first aid kits and supplies.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation on first aid reads: “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.”
Because OSHA doesn’t require any specific first aid kit or specific contents, many employers have found it helpful to follow the ANSI/ISEA requirements, designed to provide the minimum proper first aid supplies.
The most significant change in the revised standard is the introduction of two classes of first aid kits, based on the assortment and quantity of first aid supplies. Class A kits are designed to deal with most common workplace injuries, such as minor cuts, abrasions and sprains. Class B kits include a broader range and quantity of supplies to deal with injuries in more complex or high-risk environments, according to ISEA.
First aid kits are also designated by type (I, II, III or IV) depending on the work environment in which they are to be used. Type I kits are intended for use in stationary, indoor environments where kit contents have minimal potential for damage. Type II kits are for portable indoor use. Type III kits are also meant for portable use in indoor or outdoor settings where the potential for damage due to environmental factors is not probable. These kits should have a water-resistant seal. Construction jobs present typical applications for Type III first aid kits. Type IV kits are meant for use outdoors where the potential for damage to the kit contents due to environmental factors and rough handling is significant. Type IV kits must pass tests for corrosion, moisture and impact resistance.
“The multitiered approach of designating kits allows employers to make practical choices based on the nature of the work area, recognizing that each workplace differs in potential risk and task load,” said David Lapp, chairman of the ISEA First Aid Group and senior product manager at Honeywell Safety Products. “By expanding the items in a basic first aid kit, employees will have greater access to items needed to treat their injuries as quickly as possible.”
Many of the first aid supplies previously identified as being recommendations in the previous standard are now required for both newly designated class types. In addition, scissors are to be included in both classes of kits, and a splint and a tourniquet are both required for a Class B first aid kit.
The required minimum fill must be achieved to be compliant with the standard. Kits should be inspected regularly to ensure they remain stocked and that the contents still meet the needs of the workplace. Further information on minimum content requirements and the revised standard can be directed toward Cristine Z. Fargo, ISEA director of member and technical services.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him @SHRMRoy
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