First Aid Kits & Risk Assessment

The first aid equipment you need at your Australian business depends on a number of factors including the size of your business, type of business and industry as well as the number of locations you operate in.

Every workplace needs a first aid kit, so if you don’t currently have one, it should be your number one priority to rectify that situation straight away. By not having the regulation first aid equipment on site, you’re jeopardizing the safety of your workplace and contravening the safety code for your state or territory which carries significant penalties.

Workplace Safety Kit

What first-aid equipment do I need for my business?

On a very simple level, you need first aid equipment at every workplace. Many business owners don’t realize that definition includes vehicles, so if your salespeople spend a lot of the time in their cars, they should have a first aid kit in the vehicle – because it’s their workplace.

Determining what type of first aid kit you need, and the quantity of first aid kits you need is something best determined by talking to the experts. St John Ambulance can assist with these inquiries and Jim’s Test & Tag also provide first aid kits to businesses. However, before you reach out to the experts, it may be worth first doing a first aid risk assessment of your business.

First aid risk assessment

A first aid risk assessment involves looking objectively at your business and the type of work you do and answering some questions that will determine what first aid equipment and procedures you need to put into practice.  St John Ambulance have an online checklist that you can use to complete this risk assessment.

First aid regulations and practices vary from state to state but the risk assessment will ask you questions like:

  • Is your workplace high risk?
  • Do you have workplaces that are remote, or where access to emergency services is difficult?
  • Do you have first aid training in place in your business?
  • How many staff do you have who are trained in first aid?
  • Do all first aiders in your workplace have current first aid qualifications?
  • Do you have sufficient first aid kits in your workplace, including vehicles?
  • Do your first aid kits comply with the SafeWork Australia Code of Practice?
  • Does your workplace have adequate and visible first aid signage?
  • Does it need a first aid room?
  • Does your first aid room have adequate facilities?
  • Does your workplace require other equipment, such as automatic defibrillators, eye wash facilities, etc.?
  • Do you have a current set of first aid procedures?
  • Does your workplace provide information to staff about first aid?
  • Do you do regular first aid drills?

Don’t be surprised, if in thinking about the answers to these questions, you realize that your workplace isn’t adequately prepared for an emergency requiring first aid. Unfortunately, you’re not alone.

Most Australian businesses are underprepared

St John Ambulance have found that an incredible 87% of Australian businesses are underprepared for a workplace emergency. But now’s the time to fix it in your workplace.

As the business owner, or manager, you are the person responsible for workplace safety and you have a duty of care to your employees and visitors to your workplace. If an accident happened in your workplace, and your first aid equipment and procedures were found to be lacking, you could be found liable, and the penalties are severe.

The good news is that it’s easy to fix. Talk to a first aid expert such as the staff at Jim’s Test & Tag. They’ll come out to your business and assess exactly what you require to ensure that your business complies with the SafeWork Australia Code of Practice and that you have a safe workplace from a first aid/emergency response perspective.

First Aid means more than just a first aid kit

Do your staff know where to find the first aid kit? It’s not enough to have a First Aid kit in the office kitchen that some people know is there and that gets dusted off every time the cupboard gets a clean – which isn’t often.

First Aid kits need to be kept in a highly visible area where they can be easily accessed, and a member of staff should be nominated as responsible for maintaining and restocking the first aid kit/s.  First aid kits should be clearly indicated with first aid signage that has been installed according to the AS 1319 standard for safety signs.  

Is your first aid kit appropriate for the work you do?

First aid kits vary in size and in what they contain depending on your likely needs in the workplace. For example, a first aid kit in a commercial kitchen would have a greater quantity of bandages and other essentials needed for treating burns, than you would have in a first aid kit for a general office. And a first aid kit in a mechanical workshop may have items such as eye washes which might not be required in other workplaces.

Don’t just buy a first aid kit off the shelf and expect that it will do the job. Talk to the experts about what’s really needed for your business.

Are your staff trained and responsible?

Do you have nominated first aid representatives in your team? If not, you need to nominate some team members and they need to have a current first aid qualification. No matter how small your business, it’s advisable to have more than one person trained in first aid so that if your first aid warden isn’t on site, you’ve got a back-up.

First Aid Emergency drills are a must

It’s also important that everyone in your team knows who the wardens are and where to find them in an emergency. Regular first aid drills are essential. Your team might moan and groan at the thought of a first aid drill, but St John Ambulance advise that the first five minutes is everything. Administering the correct first aid in the first five minutes after an incident might just save someone’s life. 

Do you have first aid kits in every workplace?

Motor vehicles are workplaces, so are boats and school yards. Think about where your staff do their work and make sure that they have access to a first aid kit, no matter where they are. First aid kits now come in many shapes and sizes, so there’s no excuse not to have one at hand. For example, there are now bum bag sized first aid kits that teachers can use when they’re on yard duty.

Know the Code of Practice

Although there can be variations between the states and territories, most states in Australia now follow the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice which is an approved Code of Practice under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act. It’s your obligation as an employer to understand your first aid responsibilities, but you don’t need to wear that burden on your own. Experts such as Test & Tag can advise exactly what first aid equipment is needed to ensure your business is compliant.