Industry standard

First aid kits: update yours to meet new industry standards

A first aid kit can be easy to overlook. He is silent, discreet and often hides in plain sight. But it’s more likely to be used than you think. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A recently revised industry consensus standard for first aid kits comes into effect this year on October 15. You are urged to review the contents of each first aid kit in your workplace now to ensure compliance with this standard.

About the standard

New standard: ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2021, American National Standard for Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies.

Developed by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA(ANSI).

The standard has been updated six times since it was first published in 1978. Each revision aims to ensure that first aid kits contain the items needed to treat the most common types of sudden illnesses and injuries currently encountered in the workplace. work.

“A real first aid kit is just one part of an employer’s safety culture,” said Todd VanHouten, director of product development and innovation at Cintas First Aid & Safety and group president. ISEA’s first aid products.

“While compliance with the standard is recommended, updating aid stations, kits and protocols goes beyond compliance,” VanHouten said. “The discussions and recommendations of this standard can help guide an organization’s overall first aid program, ultimately helping to provide appropriate and timely treatment to all employees.”

what changed

The latest standard maintains the classification of kits established in 2015: Class A or Class B, depending on the working environment. In addition to designating classes and types of first aid kits, the new standard details requirements for first aid supplies, as well as the marking and labeling of first aid kits. Several other key updates are described below:

An aluminum cover is now mandatory. This change reflects similar international standards and recognizes the multiple purposes this element can serve. It can be used in the treatment of hypothermia, act as a windbreaker or be worn as an emergency waterproof wrap.

The types of tourniquets are clarified. The revised standard helps distinguish tourniquets from the types of strips used to draw blood, which are not as effective in preventing blood loss as expected.

Bleeding control kits are better guided. The update provides additional details on Designated Bleeding Control Kits, which contain more advanced first aid supplies to immediately treat life-threatening external bleeding.

The focus is on workplace risk assessment. “Employers should conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment to help them determine which supplies to increase,” VanHouten advised. The new standard offers a more in-depth discussion of this topic to help employers assess risk, identify potential hazards, and select additional first aid supplies relevant to a particular application or work environment.

Urgent reality check

VanHouten noted that every work environment is unique, so modifications to any first aid kit should be made based on the specific hazards and injuries that might occur at a particular job site.

That said, it’s important to jump on it now. Although the new standard comes into effect on October 15, 2022, there is no reason to wait until then to bring your first aid kit into compliance. You and your colleagues need the best possible first aid kit in case of an emergency.

The standard is available at ISEA First Aid Standard Page or through authorized resellers.

Nicole Randall is director of marketing and external affairs for the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) in Arlington, Virginia, which is the trade association in the United States for personal protective equipment, products and technologies.