Your Workplace First Aid Requirements
All business have a Duty of Care to protect their employees as well as provide immediate and effective first aid to workers who have been injured or become ill at the workplace and reduce the severity of the injury or illness. In some cases it could mean the difference between life or death.
A person conduction or undertaking a business has the primaery duty under the Work Health and Safety Act to ensure;
- provision of first aid equipment
- each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment
- access to facilities for administering first aid, and
- an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid, or workers have
access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer
First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, the types of hazards, the workplace size and location, as well as the number of people at the workplace. These factors must be taken into account when deciding what first aid arrangements are provided.
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter.
This duty to consult is based on the recognition that worker input and participation improves decision-making about health and safety matters including;
- the number, location and contents of first aid kits and other equipment
- the type of first aid facilities that may be needed
- first aid procedures, and
- the number of first aiders.
How to determine First Aid Requirements.
To meet your duty as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide
access to first aid equipment, facilities and trained first aiders you must have regard to all
relevant matters, including the following:
− the nature of the work being carried out at the workplace
− the nature of the hazards at the workplace
− the size and location of the workplace, and
− the number and composition of the workers and other persons at the workplace
Certain work environments have greater risk of injury and illness due to the nature of work
being carried out and the nature of the hazards at the workplace. For example, workers in
factories, motor vehicle workshops and forestry operations are at greater risk of injury
requiring immediate medical treatment than workers in offices or libraries. These workplaces will therefore require different first aid arrangements.
|Overexertion can cause muscular strain
|Working at height or
on uneven or
|Slips, trips and falls can cause fractures, bruises, lacerations, dislocations,
|Potential ignition source—could cause injuries from fire. Exposure to live
electrical wires can cause shock, burns and cardiac arrest.
|Being hit by moving vehicles, or being caught by moving parts of
machinery can cause fractures, amputation, bruises, lacerations,
|Toxic or corrosive chemicals may be inhaled or may contact skin or eyes causing poisoning, chemical burns, irritation.
Flammable chemicals could result in injuries from fire or explosion.
|Hot surfaces and materials can cause burns.
Working in extreme heat can cause heat-related illness. It can also
increase risks by reducing concentration and increasing fatigue and
chemical uptake into the body.
Exposure to extreme cold can cause hypothermia and frostbite.
|Welding arc flashes, ionising radiation and lasers can cause burns.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, skin cancers
and eye damage.
|Behaviours including intimidation and physical assault can cause both
physical and psychological injuries.
|Infection, allergic reactions
|Bites, stings, kicks, crush injuries, scratches
Other considerations include;
- Size and location of the workplace
- The number and composition of workers and others in the workplace
First Aid Kits
All workers must be able to access a first aid kit. This will require at least one first aid kit to
be provided at their workplace. The number and type of First aid Kits can be calculated as follows.
Low Risk 1-50:Number of people designed to assist workplace rating of ‘Low Risk’
- Example: Office Buildings, Home Offices, Retail Shop, Cars/Trucks
- Definition: A workplace where workers are not exposed to hazards
- Recommendation: 1 first aid kit should be provided on-site for at least every 50 people
High Risk 25:Number of people designed to assist workplace rating of ‘High Risk’
- Example: Construction, Warehousing, Manufacturing, Laboratories
- Definition: A workplace where workers are exposed to hazards
- Recommendation: 1 first aid kit should be provided on-site for at least every 25 people
The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries
- cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
- muscular sprains and strains
- minor burns
- amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
- broken bones
- eye injuries, and
The contents of first aid kits should be based on a risk assessment. For example, there may
be higher risk of eye injuries and a need for more eye pads in a workplace in which work
involves machinery or chemicals. For example, where:
- chemical liquids or powders are handled in open containers
- spraying, hosing or abrasive blasting operations are carried out
- there is a possibility of flying particles causing eye injuries
- there is a risk of splashing or spraying of infectious materials, or
- welding, cutting or machining operations are carried out.
To download a Workplace First Aid Kit checklist click here.
Extra equipment may be needed in remote workplaces, for example for serious burns,
breathing difficulties or allergic reactions.
Design of kits
First aid kits can be any size, shape or type to suit your workplace, but each kit should:
- be large enough to contain the necessary items
- be immediately identifiable with a white cross on green background prominently
displayed on the outside
- contain a list of the contents for that kit, and
- be made of material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture and
In the event of a serious injury or illness, quick access to the kit is vital. First aid kits should
be kept in a prominent, accessible location where they can be retrieved quickly. All workers must have access to first aid equipment including in security-controlled workplaces.
First aid kits should be located close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness.
For example, a school with a science laboratory or carpentry workshop should have first aid kits located in these areas. If the workplace occupies several floors in a multistorey building, at least one kit should be located on every second floor. Emergency floor plans displayed in the workplace should include the location of first aid kits.
A portable first aid kit should be provided in the vehicles of mobile workers if that is their
workplace, for example couriers, taxi drivers, sales representatives, bus drivers and
inspectors. These kits should be safely located so as not to become a projectile in a
Restocking and maintaining kits
A person in the workplace, usually a first aider, should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit and should:
- monitor usage of the first aid kit and ensure items used are replaced as soon as
practicable after use
- carry out regular checks, after each use or, if the kit is not used, at least once every
12 months, to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items. An
inventory list in the kit should be signed and dated after each check, and
- ensure items are in working order, have not deteriorated, are within their expiry dates and sterile products are sealed and have not been tampered with.
You can also contact us and we can take care of your First Aid Kits for you.
In addition to first aid kits, you should consider whether other first aid equipment is
necessary to treat the injuries or illnesses that could occur as a result of a hazard at
Automated external defibrillators
Providing an automated external defibrillator (AED) can reduce the risk of fatality from
cardiac arrest. While cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can prolong life, defibrillation is
the only way to restore a heart with a fatal heart rhythm back to a normal heart rhythm.
You should consider providing an AED if there is a risk to workers at your workplace from
electrocution, if there would be a delay in ambulance services arriving at the workplace, or
where there are large numbers of members of the public.
AEDs are designed to be used by trained or untrained people. They provide audible step-by-step instruction on how to use them and how to perform CPR. They can detect whether they have been applied correctly and will instruct whether defibrillation is appropriate. Most AEDs will also keep records once they are activated including some vital signs and whether shocks have been recommended and administered.
Check out our range of AED’s here.
For the full First Aid in the Workplace code of Practice go to Safework Australia.gov.au.