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First Aid Equipment - What do you REALLY need?

Updated: Jun 2

First Aid equipment encompasses all equipment needed to treat injury or illness that could result from a hazard at your workplace or home. What you really need will vary from place to place, based on a number of factors.

Let’s imagine for a moment……these things can and do happen!

  • You have someone in your maintenance department that experiences a serious chemical burn? Would you know what first aid equipment and response is needed?

  • What about a co-worker dropping to the floor with a suspected heart attack? What kind of equipment should you be aware of in the workplace that could potentially save their life?

  • A co-worker has a peanut allergy and experiencing an allergic reaction – What kind of response do you need to know about?

Let’s talk about what First Aid Equipment

You REALLY need!

Workers MUST be able to access:

  • First aid equipment

  • First Aid facilities and

  • Trained first aiders whenever they are at work.

This includes those people working night shift or overtime.

Notice the word ‘MUST’ in the First Aid Code of Practice. This helps businesses to know what they are required to do.

At the very least, one first aid kit should be provided at your workplace.

1. What’s the basic requirements for a First Aid Kit?

A First Aid Kit should be able to supply basic equipment to administer first aid for injuries or illness.

This includes:

· cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters

· muscular sprains and strains

· minor burns

· amputations and/or major bleeding wounds

· broken bones

· eye injuries

· shock

The content requirements for a first aid kit should be assessed via risk assessment. Refer to 6 important things you need to know about First Aid Compliance. Doing this process is easier than you think. Careful consideration should be given to understanding the risks faced at your workplace.

If there are deemed higher risks, you may need to add extra items into the kit or choose a kit designed to cater for the additional risks such as:

  1. There is risk of flying debris that may cause an eye injury (examples include in a workshop, roadworks, construction areas)

  2. The use of chemicals or powders whereby there is some risk of exposure (examples include a manufacturing environment, a chemical plant)

  3. A place where there are any welding, cutting or machine operations cut out (examples include sheet metal workshops, maintenance departments)

  4. Spraying, hosing or abrasive blasting operations (examples include a panel beaters shop, sandblasting workshops).

  5. Working in outdoor environments (examples include farm work, field work, landscaping, gardening, road works)

  6. Where there is risk of splashing or spraying of infectious materials.

Further equipment may be needed for remote workplaces or where there is risk of serious burns.

These extra items will be based on the outcome of your risk assessment, so may see the need for inclusion of things like:

· Snake bite kit

(I have seen too often people purchase these after being bitten and being traumatised by the experience!)

· Eye wash bottles/Eye wash stations

(every workshop needs at least one of these!) I have seen first-hand that having quick and easy access to these have managed to save a worker’s eyesight. Never underestimate the importance of having access to the right first aid equipment and to being able to get to it quickly.

· Extra eye pads

· Burn gels

· EpiPen

Each workplace has a different view on this. Some take the approach though to cater for the potential to occur. Ever watched Bondi Rescue? – they have an EpiPen on hand just in case a beachgoer has an Anaphylactic reaction. They have obviously based this on the risk, as they have literally thousands of visitors each year to this iconic location.

A recommended content list for first aid can be found within the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice - 2021

2. What types of First Aid Kits are available?

There are several types of kits available and they can be purchased to suit your workplace (or home setting).

They should all be easily recognisable with a white cross on green background on the outside of the kit (this is the required sign in Australia).

  • Travel First Aid Kit - suitable for use in vehicles. They should be placed into vehicles used as a workplace. Example for couriers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, removalists, sales representatives etc.)

  • Portable First Aid Kit

  • Workplace Wall Mounted First Aid Kit

  • Industrial First Aid Kit

  • Home/Outdoor/Sport First Aid Kit

  • Home First Aid Kit

Whatever kit is chosen, there should be a list of contents to outline what can be found inside the kit.

You should also appoint someone within the workplace to keep track of the use of the content. This also requires the removal of any expired items.

3. Where do you keep the First Aid kits or equipment?

Ensure you have prominent signage so people can both locate and spot the kits easily.

Keep them:

  • Inside Fleet Vehicles (travel or portable kits). Secure them so they don’t become a projectile during the event of an accident.

  • Close to where there is higher risk for injury or illness (examples include: nearby the production lines in a factory setting, in the workshop of the maintenance dept, or within the science lab at a school)

4. What other First Aid Equipment might I require?

Again, this may be dependent on the outcome of your Risk Assessment and what the level of risk is determined for your work setting.

The number of trained first aiders is recommended as follows:

  • Low Risk Workplaces (examples include office environments) – one first aider for every 50 workers.

  • High Risk Workplaces (examples include construction, manufacturing) – one first aider for every 25 workers.

Your business may fall somewhere in between....
Schools for example, tend to have a lot of stairs and we have been to many recently that have a pool in the middle of the school! Stairs, children, pool, contact sport all elevate the risks.
Take care when undertaking your risk assessment to account for the number of workers on your site, plus also include how many visitors and contractors that may also be potentially at your workplace at any one time.
The total number of people (and potential risk) needs to be included in your calculation.

The outcome of your risk assessment may determine that you require the following equipment:

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

When determining the requirements for this you may look holistically at your workplace – example: Do you undertake high risk works at the workplace? e.g. electrical work, confined space?

This alone is likely to warrant installation of an AED.

It may be more simply determined that your workplace or area has a large volume of people traffic, e.g. a shopping centre, hotels, schools, manufacturing sites. These are the types of places that are often equipped with an AED. When you are conducting a risk assessment take into consideration things such as:

  • Distance from medical facilities

  • Approximate time it would take for emergency services to arrive at the site.

  • Whether there is shift work conducted

  • Ascertain how many people are at the workplace. If you have say 1500 people, then the likelihood of someone experiencing a cardiac arrest will be more probable, simply due to the larger numbers of people at the workplace.

It is important to note that Automated External Defibrillators are designed to be used by trained or untrained persons. They should be kept in a location that is clearly visible, are easily accessible and not exposed to extreme temperatures.

They are required to be clearly signed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The checking of AED’s should also be added to your safety schedule and checked alongside your regular safety inspections.

· AED Pads and accessories

Ensure that you have all AED pads and accessories for the AED equipment on site.

· Eyewash and Shower Equipment

This equipment may be permanently fixed or portable. It all depends on the workplace. Think about what the risks may be. If there is a risk of hazardous chemicals or infectious substances that can cause an eye injury, then you are likely to need this.

Shower facilities can be:

- An appropriate deluge operation (often found in manufacturing and warehouse settings)

- A permanently rigged hand-held shower hose

- A portable plastic or rubber shower hose that is designed to be easily attached to a tap.

This will give you a good insight into understanding what you really need for your First Aid Equipment. For a full list of requirements for setting up First Aid rooms or the requirements needed inside a First Aid room, consult the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice.

Of course, once you have the equipment in place, you need to make sure that your team of First Aiders have got First Aid and CPR training under their belt to feel confident enough to deliver.

“Did my CPR refresher with Sarah yesterday, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt relaxed and enjoyed the class……Sarah was straight to the point in her training and ready to answer any questions. I will be definitely going back to her next year, oh and no lengthy and boring stories, just what I needed to know for CPR”

Kathryn Bain

First Aiders should attend training and refresher training to maintain the knowledge and skills to be able to administer First Aid competently.

"Our commitment at Fast First Aid Training is to provide training in a way that is relaxed and help you to feel at ease."

Your commitment has been to become a vital First Aid Officer to support your work colleagues or family – we can work together by adding relevant and real-world tips and strategies to support you in real life.

Our goal is to teach you the skills to not only potentially save a life, but to also instil the confidence to use them!

We are committed to YOU experiencing the best training possible – No long, boring stories – GUARANTEED!

What is different about the updated First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice - 2021?

Essentially it includes more information about the need to undertake a risk assessment to have a true understanding of what the risks are within the workplace. So for example, it discusses in the Code of Practice that workplaces may consider additional items to be included in their kit based on risk - E.g. Epipen and Asthma Inhaler/Spacer - refer to Qld Health for more information about approval to purchase First Aid items for Emergency use.

What types of First Aid Courses are there?

F.A.S.T. First Aid Training offers the new and most up to date courses available

HLTAID009 - CPR only

HLTAID011 - Provide First Aid inc. CPR

HLTAID012 - First Aid inc. a Childcare Setting

UETDRRF06- Low Voltage Rescue (with CPR or first aid)

F.A.S.T. First Aid Training Banner

Frequently Asked Questions:-

What’s required for First Aid Kits in Multi-Storey buildings?

  • At least one kit should be located on every second floor.

  • Emergency floor plans displayed in the workplace should include the location of first aid kits.

How often should First Aid Kits be checked?

  • Ideally keep a First Aid Log to check on the stock levels and replace items taken after each use.

  • If the kit is not used, review the stock levels at least once every year.

  • If the kit is used more regularly, ensure stock levels are reviewed with increased frequency. For example, change to quarterly checks.

  • Check the contents with the content kit list (keep this in the First Aid Kit for easy reference)

How often do I need First Aid and CPR training?

Contact us today to see how we can support you or your business.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links and if you click on the link, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase. I only recommend products that I use.


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