It is a requirement of OSHA that employees be given a safe and healthy workplace that is reasonably free of occupational hazards. However, it is unrealistic to expect accidents not to happen. Therefore, employers are required to provide medical and first aid personnel and supplies commensurate with the hazards of the workplace.
The employer shall ensure the ready availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation on matters of plant health.
In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.
Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.
First aid supplies are required to be readily available under paragraph §1910.151(b). An example of the minimal contents of a generic first aid kit is described in American National Standard (ANSI) Z308.1-1978 “Minimum Requirements for Industrial Unit-Type First-aid Kits.” The contents of the kit listed in the ANSI standard should be adequate for small worksites. When larger operations or multiple operations are being conducted at the same location, employers should determine the need for additional first aid kits at the worksite, additional types of first aid equipment and supplies and additional quantities and types of supplies and equipment in the first aid kits.
In a similar fashion, employers who have unique or changing first-aid needs in their workplace may need to enhance their first-aid kits. The employer can use the OSHA 200 log, OSHA 101’s or other reports to identify these unique problems. Consultation from the local fire/rescue department, appropriate medical professional, or local emergency room may be helpful to employers in these circumstances. By assessing the specific needs of their workplace, employers can ensure that reasonably anticipated supplies are available. Employers should assess the specific needs of their worksite periodically and augment the first aid kit appropriately.
If it is reasonably anticipated that employees will be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials while using first aid supplies, employers are required to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in compliance with the provisions of the Occupational Exposure to Blood borne Pathogens standard, § 1910.1030(d)(3) (56 FR 64175). This standard lists appropriate PPE for this type of exposure, such as gloves, gowns, face shields, masks, and eye protection.
[63 FR 33450, June 18, 1998]
Compliance Directive CPL 2-2.53 Guidelines for First Aid Programs: outlines training, program and types of first aid.
The Mayo Clinic First-Aid Guide offers a wealth of information about first aid for specific emergencies.
In regards to 29 CFR 1910.151(a), Washington State Department of Labor and Industries requires:
WSDLI also states a workplace may be covered by separate first-aid rules. Those engaged in any of the types of work listed below, require specialized first aid:
See Core Rules: First Aid, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for more details on their approach.
From CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillator (AED) training to injury prevention courses, bloodborne pathogens training and community disaster preparedness education, Red Cross training offers complete, flexible programs that help entities stay prepared for virtually any life-threatening situation. Contact a local Red Cross chapter for more information.
29 CFR 1910.151 Medical and First Aid]
American National Standards Institute
Attn: Customer Service 11 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036
Telephone: (212) 642-4900
Fax: (212) 398-0023
ANSI Z 308.1-1978: Requirements for Industrial Unit-Type First Aid Kits.
Basic First Aid: Script, National Ag Safety Database
NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Emergency Response Resources
OSHA Guidelines for First Aid Programs, CPL 02-02-053 – CPL 2-2.53
OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Medical Care and First Aid
OSHA First Aid Requirements Fact Sheet, Harvard University