A new British Standard for workplace First Aid kits was announced in June this year as the current BHTA-HSE specification, which was first introduced in 1997, is now seen as outdated and inadequate.
The new guidelines are designed to provide a more comprehensive and effective guide First Aid provision and the BHTA standard is to be withdrawn on 31st December with the introduction of the new standard.
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 state:
An employer shall provide or ensure that there are provided such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first aid to eb rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work.
Therefore, by continuing to use the 1997 guidelines, organisations will no longer comply with these regulations but by embracing the new standard, employees will meet future first aid requirements effectively.
DON'T PANIC - Your existing first aid kit does not need to be replaced if it currently meeting your needs.
Despite the hype, there is no such a thing as an 'HSE First Aid KIt', even though many first aid suppliers market them as such. The content of these are simply based on HSE recommendations and are not to be mandatory.
The HSE are deliberately non-descriptive on the contents as it is the employer's responsibility to determine what is suitable. Eg. If you handle rough timber all day, splinters and small cuts may be commonplace so you would be expected to provide a large number of plasters.
The HSE will not be making the new BS8599 first aid kit mandatory.
BS8599 is more extensive in its recommendations and suggests additional items such as adhesive tape, shears, foil emergency blanket, mouth to mouth resuscitation device etc.
The new standard also recommends fewer of certain items and overall, this is a much better first aid kit for the workplace but it is up to the employer to decide what should be included.
As well as the new inventory for the first aid kits, four sizes will be introduced; workplace small, medium, large and a travel kit. IN orde for employers to select the correct first aid kit, it is vital to carry out a needs or risk assessment.
SGM stock a wide range of suitable First Aid kits and can advise you with your risk assessmet needs. Please visit our own site sgm-uk.com for further information or to contact us.