4.12 First Aid

Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual

Prompt first-aid treatment should be provided for injured employees. You can make sure this treatment is provided either by training employees on first aid or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite. Adequate first aid should be available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care.

For serious injuries, such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first-aid treatment should be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent impairment or death. Therefore, in areas where serious accidents are possible—such as accidents involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation—employees who are trained to render first aid should be available on site unless emergency medical services are available within 3 to 4 minutes. A somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes is reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.

Design and implement a workplace first-aid program that meets the needs of each location and:

  • Aims to minimize the effects of accidents or exposures.

  • Complies with best practices relating to first aid.

  • Includes sufficient quantities of appropriate and readily accessible first-aid supplies and first-aid equipment.

  • Assigns and trains first-aid providers who (1) receive first-aid training suitable to the specific workplace and (2) receive periodic refresher courses on first-aid skills and knowledge.

For information on obtaining or placing automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) as part of a workplace first-aid program, please contact your department safety, health, and environmental representative or see the “Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program Fact Sheet.”

4.12.1 First-Aid Kits

The following are recommended items to be included in first-aid kits. Each facility should have one kit for every 50 people. These kits are designed to deal with the most common types of workplace injuries. Periodically check the expiration dates on products, and replace when needed. To obtain a first-aid kit, see your purchasing reference guide (PRG), or check with your local purchasing agent. Replacement supplies may be purchased locally. (Note: medications, including over-the-counter medications, should not be stocked in first-aid kits or dispensed by first-aid responders.)

Required Minimum Fill




Antiseptic wipes (benzalkonium chloride)


Antibiotic ointment, individual application


Burn dressing, gel-soaked


Burn treatment, individual application


Adhesive bandages, 1″ x 3″ (2.5 x 7.5 cm)


Sterile gauze pads, 3″ x 3″ (7.5 x 7.5 cm)


Non-adherent eye covering, with means of attachment


Trauma dressing, 5″ x 9″ (12.5 x 23 cm)


Triangular bandages, 40″ (1 m)


Roller bandage, gauze, 2″ x 6 yds. (5 cm x 5.5 m)


Adhesive tape, 1″ x 2½ yds. (2.5 cm x 2.3 m)


Eyewash/skin wash, 1 fl. oz. (30 mL)


Cold pack, 4″ x 5″ (10 x 12.5 cm)


First-aid guide


Scissors, blunt, 4″ (10 cm)


Breathing barrier or CPR mask


Medical exam gloves, vinyl or nitrile


Hand sanitizer, individual application

4.12.2 Training—First Aid and CPR

A first-aid responder in the workplace is someone who is trained to deliver initial medical emergency procedures. He or she uses a limited amount of equipment to perform a primary assessment and intervention while waiting for emergency medical service (EMS) personnel to arrive.

Initial and periodic refresher training should be provided through an accredited and recognized provider. The training should focus on the specific needs of the work location, the likely potential injuries, and the average time before EMS personnel will arrive. Training could focus on the following conditions:

  • Chest pain

  • Stroke

  • Breathing problems

  • Anaphylactic reaction

  • Hypoglycemia in diabetics taking insulin

  • Seizures

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Abdominal injury

  • Reduced level of consciousness

  • Impaled object

  • Other non-life-threatening emergencies