Accidents can happen at any time and immediate action can save lives and reduce the impact of an accident. For instance, when a person slips and falls in the bathroom, immediate application of pain killer ointment will not only help reduce pain but also avoid exacerbation of the injury.
Having a first aid kit in the office is necessary and is actually a requirement by the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA). What should the contents of your office first aid kit be?
There are many items you should have in the kit but we will look at the essentials. They are similar to what should be in your home kit as well. What are these items?
1. Nitrile gloves
Anyone who has ever attended a first aid class knows that the first rule is that your safety comes first. Nitrile gloves will ensure this by allowing one to handle an injured person without direct contact with body fluid like blood. The gloves in the first aid kit should be high in quality so as to provide reliable protection. For best results, choose non-latex nitrile gloves that are powder-free and comfortable. Note that sterile gloves are not required; non-sterile gloves will work just fine.
2. Sterile strips
Small cuts and wounds need to be covered so they are not infected. Sterile strips in the office first aid kit are meant for this. Have several in there for those grazes and cuts that may accidentally occur in day to day office work.
3. Dressing and bandages
Deep cuts require heavy dressing to absorb the blood and eventually arrest bleeding. Bandages hold this dressing in place and also help stabilize fractured limbs. Stock the office first aid kit with cotton bandages of various sizes. The actual one to be used will depend on the severity of the injury.
4. Alcohol wipes
Cleaning wounds may be a duty to be performed by nurses but, most probably, there is no nurse at your office. If a colleague gets hurt, you have to get down and do it. You will need alcohol wipes to clean the area around the wound and the top part of the wound before bandaging.
In case of a corrosive fluid splashing on someone, the first action is to remove clothes. This may not be easy when one is panicking just after the accident. Colleagues can use scissors to cut off the edges and remove clothes. Scissors in the first aid kit can do so much more. They can be used to cut bandages, tapes, and much more.
6. Adhesive tape
After applying dressing and bandages, you need to hold it tightly in place. This is done using adhesive tape. Get a tape that is 2.5 cm wide and have it in the first aid kits for when the moment arises.
7. Heat blanket
It is good to be ready for the unexpected. The Red Cross recommends having at least one heat blanket in your first aid kit. This is a reflective blanket that helps retain body temperature in extreme temperatures. The blanket helps in times of emergencies where one is exposed to low temperatures.
There are many other items that you can add to your office first aid kit. These include instant cold packs, thermometer, safety pins, eyewash, plastic bags, tweezers, and antibiotic ointment, to name but a few. In order to determine the actual items you need to have in your first aid kit, look at the work environment and predict the kind of injuries that may occur in the workspace. Then choose items that help alleviate the impact of these injuries and accidents. As a rule, medications should not be kept in the office first aid kits.
Remember that your first aid kit is not a hospital and it can never replace the need to see a doctor. First aid should only be the first action taken before seeking medical attention. There are many effects of not taking care of your work injury. After first aid, all work injuries need to be looked at by a qualified medical doctor so proper treatment is given. With proper care, employees heal faster and they are able to resume work sooner. As an employer, you will reduce the chances of facing liability claims with a proper first aid kit and good medical care for all your employees.