New British Standard Introduced 30th June 2011
New British Standard Workplace first aid kit
You may have seen information about the new British Standard Workplace first aid kit. (BS8599)
First of all don't panic, your existing first aid kit does not need to be replaced if it is currently meeting your needs.
Despite the hype, there is not such a thing as a HSE first aid kit, even though first aid suppliers tend to sell them. The contents of these are simply based on HSE recommendations and are not meant to be mandatory.
The HSE are deliberately non-prescriptive on the contents. It is the employers' responsibility to determine what is suitable. This, like all first aid provision is based on the hazards in the workplace taking into account past injuries, number of employees etc.
- For example, if you handle rough cut wood, splinters and small cuts may be commonplace, in which case you may need a larger number of plasters.
- Or say in a restaurant where small burns are common, here you may need to seek other burn relief products. So what goes into the first aid box is up to you.
Because it is the employer who determine the contents, the HSE will not be making the new BS8599 first aid kit mandatory. It is also unlikely that they will even amend their current recommendations.
The HSE will not be making the new BS8599 first aid kit mandatory
However, the BS8599 is a more extensive first aid kit and contains additional items such as adhesive tape, shears, foil emergency blanket, mouth to mouth resuscitation device etc. Overall, this is a much better first aid kit for the workplace but it is up to the employer to decide if the increased costs are worth it.
NEW: The HSE will be releasing a newsletter on their website soon. However a copy of their wording is as follows:
First Aid Kits and British Standard 8599
There is a British Standard BS 8599 for first aid kits, it is not a regulatory requirement under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to purchase kits that comply with this standard. Instead the contents of a first aid box is dependent on an employers first aid needs assessment.
This means for employers following a needs assessment the options are:
1. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents complies with BS 8599 and matches your needs assessment;
2. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents matches your needs assessment but does not comply with the requirements of BS 8599.
Andrew Moore PhD
FAAMS, HSE, Corporate Medical Unit, Merton Rd, Bootle L20 7HS
Source- Association of First Aiders http://www.aofa.org/ and HSE