Give Your First-Aid Kit a Little CPR

We’re used to keeping first-aid kits handy in a variety of locations, from our cars to homes, offices and more. In fact, OSHA requires that adequate first-aid supplies be made available at the workplace, though OSHA doesn’t specify what needs to go in the kits. Everything from adhesive bandages to scissors and antibiotic ointment is up for grabs. So no matter where you work, you’ll want to make sure you have exactly what you need for your specific environment.

When you are a business owner or manager, before you purchase or create your own first-aid kit, it helps to consider what your employees are doing, how they might get injured and the size of your operation. More people means more opportunities for accidents and mishaps, so you might need more items. Fewer employees may require fewer items, and possibly a different variety of them.

Small business? Try these kit items on for size:

  • One sturdy, well-sealing, well-marked box to contain all the kit items
  • Bandages of all sizes, from adhesive strips to knuckle, fingertip, elbow and knee bandages
  • An eye bath/eye wash with sterile eye pads and tape
  • Individual triple antibiotic ointment packets
  • Antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • Wrap tape or a small elastic bandage
  • A styptic pencil or similar item to stop bleeding
  • Thermometer
  • First-aid guide/booklet

If you have multiple buildings or structures that employees can access, even if your business is small, consider having a kit with all of the above in each of the structures, and be sure the kits are immediately visible and recognizable.

Bigger business? The more you need.

If you run a larger business, perhaps 100 people or more, consider adding similar items to your first-aid kit but more of them, as well as some others so you and your employees are prepared for anything from a sore throat to an unexpected laceration. A first-aid kit for the bigger business might include the following:

  • A large, sturdy, well-sealing and well-marked box
  • Clear spray-on, fast-drying bandage
  • Multiple sizes of bandages including different-size strips, knuckle, knee, fingertip, elbow
  • Gauze pads and large bandages
  • Alcohol cleansing pads
  • Antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • Individual triple antibiotic ointment packets
  • Burn spray
  • Bug bite pen
  • Small scissors
  • First-aid tape
  • Triangular sling
  • Eye bath/eye wash with eye pads
  • Antacid tablets
  • Throat lozenges/cough drops
  • Instant cold compress 
  • Tweezers
  • Tongue depressors
  • Thermometer

Remember, every business is as unique as the people who support it. So don’t forget to consider what your employees are doing each day, and make sure they have access to first-aid supplies that will help in those specific instances.

Learn more about what OSHA recommends when building a safety kit. Get tips on emergency preparedness. Or learn more about creating a culture of safety.