18 February 2017

BS8599 - Get Wise to Workplace First Aid Kits

What the Law Says
The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 states: “An employer shall provide, or ensure that there are provided, such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first-aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work.”

The role of the HSE
The Health and Safety Executive provides a code of practice and guidance to help you meet your obligations under the law. They are not law in themselves, but if you choose not to follow them, it might be difficult to defend yourself legally, should something go wrong.

This code of practice and guidance covers all manner of topics relating to first aid, like first aid training, where it gives some practical guidance about how many trained first aiders you need in a workplace. With the contents of first aid kits, it only gives a list of the type of products that you might include in a first aid kit, and points to the BSI for further guidance.

Needs Assessment
The HSE guidance focusses on the importance of needs assessment. All employers should conduct a needs/risk assessment in order to decide on which first aid kits are needed and where they should be sited. The British Standard BS8599-1 provides some very useful guidance to help employers match their needs with BS8599-1 compliant kits.

The British Standard
A range of workplace first aid kits are detailed in British Standard BS8599-1. These kits have been professionally designed to help you fully comply with the HSE code of practice and guidance, and hence fully meet your obligations under the law. The standard is regularly reviewed to keep it up to date.

The BS8599 range comprises:
BS8599-1 Small Workplace First Aid Kit
BS8599-1 Medium Workplace First Aid Kit
BS8599-1 Large Workplace First Aid Kit
BS8599-1 Travel Workplace First Aid Kit

Other Workplace First Aid Kits
Since the HSE guidance is not binding, some workplace first aid kits are available that fall well short of the British Standard. By using these kits, an employer is not breaking the law. If however there is an incident, and an employee suffers harm that could have been prevented should a British Standard kit have been available, legal action against an employer is very possible.

Some kits are called HSE first aid kits, there is no such standard. Some kits quote BHTA, (British Healthcare Trades Association) standard, this standard was withdrawn in 2012 and replaced with the BSi standard.

BS 8599 First Aid Kits for the Workplace

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