By Chad Engle, Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist Manager
The American National Standard for Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies has been revised. The revised standard was approved on April 15, 2022 and will go into effect on October 15, 2022. The American National Standards Institute/International Safety Equipment Association standard Z308.1 – 2021 is the sixth revision of a voluntary industry consensus standard. Its objective is to standardize first aid kits to ensure that items needed to treat common types of workplace injuries and sudden illnesses are accessible and available.
The updates that you need to be aware of are:
- A foil blanket is now a mandatory item for both kit classes, A or B. The foil blanket shall be a metalized plastic sheet, minimum size of 52 x 84 in. and shall be single use.
- Tourniquets (arterial) shall be at least 1.5 in. wide and effective on limbs ranging from 7 to 33 in. The update specifies that tourniquets used for drawing blood are insufficient to meet the criteria in the standard. Common tourniquets that meet the standard utilize a ratchet or windlass to reach full occlusion.
- Expanded guidance via the index on a separately packaged bleeding control kit, such as “Stop the Bleed” kits. These kits should be uniquely packaged and designated containing more advanced supplies to immediately treat victims with life-threatening external bleeding.
- A more robust discussion to assist the employer in assessing risks and identifying potential hazards to determine what additional first aid supplies would be needed in a particular application or work environment.
Class A first aid kits are intended to provide a more basic range of products to deal with common injuries that occur in the workplace. Things like major wounds, minor wounds (cuts and abrasions), minor burns and eye injuries. This type of first aid kit would be appropriate for a courthouse or administrative environment.
Class B first aid kits are intended to provide a broader range and quantity of supplies to deal with injuries that may occur in a more populated, complex and/or high-risk environment. This type of first aid kit would be appropriate for a shop environment where employees are subjected to more severe hazards.
The standard also identifies four types of first aid kit containers. A Type I container is intended for basic indoor environments, mounted in a fixed location. A Type II container is intended for portable use in an indoor setting. Type III containers are intended for portable use indoors and sheltered use outdoors. A Type IV container is intended for outdoor use in settings where the environment could easily cause damage to the supplies.
It is also important to note that all work environments are different. The need for additional first aid supplies should be evaluated based on the specific hazards in your work environment, the number of employees in your work environment and your organization’s specific loss history.
Lastly, do not forget to inspect your first aid kits regularly and following any incident where it was used. Identify what items need to be restocked or replaced due to expiration so that the kit is always ready to serve your employees should an injury occur.