What Should Your First Aid Box Contain?

I often get asked questions like “What should we have in our first aid kit?” or “Do you think we should have this in our office first aid kit?”

I have put together this blog with a list of ten items all workplace first aid kits should contain. 

Some higher risk work places will require specialist kits and equipment, your organisation’s history of recorded incidents (accident book) and current risk assessments will help to decide if you need extra equipment or not.

1 – Nitrile Protective Gloves6 – Sterile Wipes
2 – A General First Aid Guidance
7 – Burn Dressing
3 – Resuscitation Mask8 – Tuffcut Scissors
4 – Large, Medium And Small
9 – Plasters
5 – Triangular Bandage10 – A Fit For Purpose Container For The First Aid Kit

1. Nitrile Protective Gloves

These are the most important pieces of equipment located in your kit. Protecting yourself from contamination from bodily fluids, like blood and vomit is extremely important when giving first aid. A set of disposable nitrile gloves is a great barrier between you and the patient. They also ensure the patient’s wound is kept as sterile as possible. I recommend a non-latex material like Nitrile to ensure you don’t aggravate a patient with a latex allergy. All British standard first aid kits come with at least one pair of sterile gloves. Make sure you check the gloves you are putting on for stretch marks or tears before you put them to work.

2. A General First Aid Guidance Leaflet

It is important to remember that someone grabbing the first aid kit when it’s needed may not have any formal first aid training. All British standard first aid kits come with a general first aid guidance leaflet. These normally cover basic instructions for a selected number of first aid situations. CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest is usually covered, along with advice for unconscious and breathing casualties and how to deal with a bleed. It is always advisable to have members of staff trained in a workplace first aid course such as Emergency First Aid at Work however in the event that no one trained is available, these leaflets can be a great help.

3. Resuscitation Mask

Should the worst happen and somebody went into cardiac arrest, a one-use resuscitation mask is a necessary piece of personal protective equipment to work alongside disposable nitrile gloves. These can come in many different forms, the most common in a first aid kit will be a plastic sheet with a one-way plastic valve that is laid across the patient’s face with the valve covering the patient’s mouth. They will protect the rescuer from any contamination from body fluids on the patient’s face or in their mouth. These can also be carried in a small keyring pouch along with the gloves. We always provide one of these personal protective kits to all delegates on our first aid courses.

4. Large, Medium And Small Dressings

Dressings can be used to support injured joints, hold smaller dressings in place or put pressure on a wound to stem the bleeding and help reduce swelling. It is important to have different sizes to ensure you can treat wounds in different locations, on different body parts or on different sized people. You can also use them to secure ice packs in place for strains and sprains. They come in different sizes, shapes and lengths. Make sure you choose the right dressing for the job depending on what type of injury you are dealing with.

5. Triangular bandage

Triangular bandages are one of the most longstanding versatile pieces of equipment in a first aid kit. They have many uses such as making an elevation sling to hold a cut arm in an upright position (pictured above) or a support sling for a broken or dislocated limb. They can be rolled up and wrapped around the body to help immobilise an already supported dislocated joint. Also they can be rolled and used to treat head injuries, cover an eye injury or used to attach a splint to a broken limb. These are a must in any workplace first aid kit.

6. Sterile Wipes

Sterile wipes are great for cleaning the skin in and around the area you are about to apply a dressing, they are also good for cleaning wounds (make sure you’re wearing gloves!) so they can be inspected and treated properly. They will usually come in an individual sachet containing one wipe. They are inexpensive and can be bought in bulk to ensure your kit is always fully stocked.

7. Burn Dressing

Most good quality BS standard first aid kits now include a burn dressing. These are made up of a dressing pad, soaked in purified water and other pain relief gels. They come individually wrapped in a sealed package of burn relief gel. They can be applied to burns on the body including the face, they are also safe for use on children (always check the manufacturer’s packaging to check this is the case before use). They can be secured to the area of the burn using an appropriate sized dressing from your first aid kit. These are a really handy addition to any first aid kit and help to protect a burn from infection, soothe, provide pain relief and promote recovery. Dedicated burns kits are available for workplaces with a higher risk of burns.

8. Tuffcut Scissors

An often overlooked essential item in all first aid kits is a set of Tuffcut scissors. They are as their name suggests a tough piece of kit and will cut through clothing, belts and underwires with ease. Depending on the severity of an injury it may be necessary to cut away items of clothing to be able to treat the patient’s wound properly. If someone has a broken or dislocated joint, then clothing may need to be cut away so it can be supported correctly. If a patient goes in to cardiac arrest then clothing and other items covering the chest must be cut away or removed to ensure defibrillator pads can be properly fitted.

9. Plasters

An assortment of different sized plasters are always needed in a first aid kit. They are useful for protecting and promoting the recovery of small guts and grazes. Ensure that a wound has been properly cleaned and then cover with the correct sized plaster, making sure the whole wound is covered with the pad, not the sticky part of the plaster. You can also buy catering plasters in blue.

10. A Fit For Purpose Container For The First Aid Kit

Many first aid kits are put in an open-top box, contents loose in a cupboard or in a bag that’s not fit for purpose. Make sure your kit is stored in an appropriate waterproof, dust-proof container that is clearly visible as a first aid kit. If you buy a pre packed kit to BS standard then this will already come in an appropriate container, often with a wall mountable hook included to ensure your kit is accessible and visible to anyone who may need it.

Where Should Your First Aid Box Be Kept?

If you are going to store the kit in a cupboard then a sticker or sign on the door must show that the kit is located inside and the cupboard must be unlocked so people can access it when required.

The above list contains 10 items that should be included in a workplace first aid kit and certainly isn’t a full definitive list. A key consideration is to make sure you appoint someone in you’re workplace to carry out regular checks on all the first aid kits. Ensure they are fully stocked, along with a ready supply of items to replace anything that is used. It can be useful to set up a policy whereby staff must email the person responsible for checking the first aid kits each time an item is used, so they can keep check on what equipment may be running low.

It is always advisable to seek first aid training for staff or volunteers in your business, company or organisation. We offer many different types of first aid training courses for businesses, organisations and private groups, giving employers the peace of mind that should a first aid emergency occur, or anyone becomes ill or injured while at work they will receive quality care until the arrival of Emergency Services. Don’t delay, look at the range of courses we have to offer and contact us today for your free no obligation quote for us to come to you and train your staff.

Jack Ward
Jack Ward

Jack has over 12 years experience with the emergency services, delivering emergency first aid in many different environments and circumstances. Over the last two years he taken his expertise in training, running training courses for all types of workplaces to keep organisations and their workforce ready for any medical emergencies they may face.

    36 replies to "10 Items Every First Aid Kit Must Have In The Workplace"

    • Neil Baldock

      Very detailed blog jack with lots of relevant content. This could prove very useful to many workplaces.

    • Steve

      Brilliant! Very helpful, Thank you.

    • Richard Mallett

      Thanks for above advice. Will definately be making sure my company is equipped with the above First Aid items to ensure if an unfortunate accident occurs in the workplace our company and employees have the right First Aid equipment to deal with the Accident / incident in the workplace.

    • Michael Lee

      Jack is an awesome trainer, really personable, confident & knowledgeable. Highly recommended!

    • A Varrier

      Really informative blog, thanks Jack. Will be making sure all our first aid kits are up to the same standard!

    • Tracey ward

      Excellent advice. I would not have considered the safe cut scissors, but can fully appreciate why they could be necessary. Never thought to check first aid kit as assumed all necessary would be contained, so I will endeavour to do as a priority. Great tips and may make all the difference if unfortunately required. Thanks Jack.

    • John

      Super info

    • Rachel Moxey

      Jack is the best trainer! Came away feeling confident in myself that should a worse case situation ever happen I am able to handle it calmly. Would 100% recommend.

    • Chris Johnson

      My work want me to do one of these courses, but can’t afford to lose me for 3 days in a row. Don’t suppose you have an alternative solution that I can pass on to my manager.

      Many thanks in advance

      Kind Regards

      Chris Johnson

    • David Godfrey

      This is very informative blog on much needed subject and a must have in the work place.
      We always think it won’t happen to us, but when it inevitably does, it’s nice to be prepared.
      Thanks Jack
      Will take your advice and put a proper kit together.

    • Sarah Ward

      Really good blog with some fantastic advice.

    • Vicki Wright

      Really helpful, thank you. I will be off to check the Fist Aid kit in the morning to ensure it contains these things.

    • Lucy Highton

      Very useful, more blogs and info like this please. Highly recommend EST.

    • Helen Moxey

      This is really useful information, Jack. We were discussing this at work today and it’s good to have a basic, must have, list to refer to.

    • Andreas Heath

      Kudos to the author. He’s really stripped away the industry ‘bull’ and outlined the essentials.

    • Bridget Couch

      Very detailed blog full of important relevant information. Lots of sensible advice. Should encourage every workplace to have the equipment Jack recommends.

    • Brett L

      A very knowledgeable Trainer with clearly a lot of experience. I can only but recommend him for his professionalism.

    • Helen Wilmott

      Essex Safety Training thank you for the delivery of our first aid training. Not always easy to keep staff fully engaged but you achieved this and the feed back has been excellent . Tailoring the course towards incidents we have had kept it relevant and we look forward to seeing you again . Regards Helen

    • Juliet Bransgrove

      Hi Jack, love you’re practical advice on first aid, everyone should take on board yiur advice. Be great to work with you on first aid for epileptic seizures. So many people get scared and don’t know what to do. Juliet, Epilepsy Nurse in Norfolk 🙂

      • Jack Ward

        Hi Juliet, thank you for taking the time to read the blog and give your comments. It would be great to work with you around first aid for epileptic seizures, we cover that subject on both our 1 day Emergency First Aid at Work and 3 day First Aid at Work courses.

    • Sheila Balding

      This is a very useful and comprehensive list. Well thought out Jack.

      • Jack Ward

        Thank you for your comments Sheila

    • David

      I will use your blog to update our first aid kit. Thank you for this useful and concise information, Jack

      • Jack Ward

        Thanks Dave, hope it helps with you first aid kit!

    • Dave J

      Jack really knows his subject and his professionalism is second to none.

      • Jack Ward

        Thanks Dave

    • Nicky McGreavy

      Very useful advice.I will be checking our first aid kit at work this week.

      • Jack Ward

        Hi Nicky I’m glad you found it helpful.

    • Gill P.

      Very concise, this first aid kit would cover a multitude of situations where first aid is required. Brilliant.

      • Jack Ward

        Thank you Gill, I’m glad you liked the blog.

    • Ed

      Useful information. As a style note, your hyperlinks are white on a white background and are therefore impossible to read.

      • Jack Ward

        Thanks Ed thanks good to know! This should have been rectified now snd the links will appear in red text.

    • Dave Birch

      Great blog Jack, really useful!

      • Jack Ward

        Thanks for reading Dave

    • Rachel P

      Very useful, and probably largely applicable to any first aid kit, whether at home or at work

      • Jack Ward

        Yes these items are useful in any first aid kit wherever it is situated. Thanks for reading Rachel

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