Workplace Health and Safety Laws
Being able to respond to injuries and illnesses that occur at the workplace effectively can significantly improve the outcome of the injured person; sometimes meaning the difference between life and death. As such the Australian Government have developed Work Health and Safety (WHS) duties for workplaces. The WHS duties provide practical information which assists in understanding your requirements for first aid equipment and training.
First Aid Requirements
First aid requirements are based on individual workplace risk assessments and therefore will vary between workplaces. To gain an understanding of what your workplace needs, factors such as the following are important to consider:
- The kind of work being conducted
- The risks/hazards at your workplace
- The location of your workplace (ie distance from emergency services)
- The number of individuals on site (to inform the size/quantity of your first aid kits/supplies)
A systematic risk assessment considering the above factors will assist you in deciding what kind of first aid equipment and services are necessary. Frequent reviews of this type of risk assessment in discussion with workers are important to ensure your first aid provisions remain adequate.
Workplaces are obliged to provide all workers access to:
- first aid kits and services
- trained first aid officers
First aid kits should be placed in close proximity to high-risk areas. First aid kits should also be placed within vehicles used by workers as part of their work.
Contents of First Aid Kits
Contents of your first aid kits should primarily be based on your workplace risk assessment. The inclusion of basic first aid equipment is a minimum, with further equipment being necessary depending on any further risks the nature of your work poses. For example, burns risk (such as in plumbing/welding) and risk of finger amputations (such as in carpentry) both require additional equipment (burns ointments/dressings and amputated parts bags).
Woorkplace first aid kits must comply with the Safework Code of Practice for Workplaces and be registered with the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. You may find a checklist useful when figuring out what your first aid kits should include.
According to WorkSafe Victoria, at minimum a workplace first aid kit must include:
- basic first aid notes
- disposable gloves
- resuscitation mask
- individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings
- sterile eye pads (packet)
- sterile coverings for serious wounds
- triangular bandages
- safety pins
- small sterile unmedicated wound dressings
- medium sterile unmedicated wound dressings
- large sterile unmedicated wound dressings
- non-allergenic tape
- rubber thread or crepe bandage
- suitable book for recording details of first aid provided
- sterile saline solution
- plastic bags for disposal.
Thankfully, we’ve taken much of the thought out of this for you and provided comprehensive workplace first aid kits that comply with the Safework Code of Practice for Workplaces, with everything needed for treating injuries resulting from a wide range of workplace hazards. Get everything needed to treat minor to moderate traumatic injuries, burn injuries, joint injuries, environmental emergencies and more, all in on kit, right here.
For further advice and to be advised on your workplace obligations please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.