Hey there! If you work in construction, having a properly stocked first aid kit on site is crucial for treating injuries and medical emergencies. Let’s explore the ins and outs of selecting, stocking, and maintaining construction site first aid kits. I’ll share OSHA requirements, essential supplies, maintenance tips, and more so you can make sure your crew is prepared.
OSHA and ANSI First Aid Kit Regulations
To legally operate a construction site in the US, you must follow OSHA’s first aid kit regulations. Specifically, OSHA’s Construction Standards require that worksites have readily accessible first aid kits adequate for the environment, containing at a minimum:
- Gauze pads
- Roller bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes
- Breathing barriers
- Disposable gloves
That’s just the bare minimum. For a construction site, you’ll want to exceed OSHA’s basics and provide more comprehensive supplies. This is where ANSI standards come in.
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) provides guidelines on first aid kit types and required contents. There are two classes of first aid kits:
Class A Kits
These are basic kits for general environments like offices. They contain supplies for minor injuries only.
Class B Kits
These are more advanced kits designed for harsh, high risk environments. Class B kits contain more quantities of supplies, plus tools for severe injuries like fractures, amputations, etc.
For construction sites, OSHA highly recommends meeting ANSI’s Class B requirements.
ANSI also categorizes first aid kits by type, which indicates their portability and weather resistance:
- Type I – Stationary indoor kits
- Type II – Portable indoor kits
- Type III – Portable indoor/outdoor kits
- Type IV – Portable kits designed for mobile crews in adverse conditions
For construction sites, ANSI Type IV first aid kits are recommended. They’re durable, weather-resistant, and contain ample supplies for emergencies.
So in summary – for construction sites, OSHA recommends ANSI Class B, Type IV first aid kits. This combo provides the most appropriate supplies and protection for the hazards construction crews face.
Must-Have First Aid Supplies
Since construction site crews are vulnerable to various injuries, Class B first aid kits contain a wide assortment of medical products. Here are some of the most essential supplies:
Lacerations, puncture wounds, abrasions, and cuts are common on construction sites due to handling sharp tools and materials. Stock up on:
- Sterile gauze pads and rolls
- Adhesive bandages
- Antiseptic wipes and ointments
- Medical tape
- Trauma pads for heavy bleeding
- Eye wash solution
Burns can result from heat, chemicals, and electricity. Have these on hand:
- Burn gel packets
- Sterile burn dressings
- Antiseptic spray
- Gauze pads
Falls, heavy lifting, and overexertion often cause sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures on site. Be equipped with:
- Splints in various sizes
- Instant cold packs
- Elastic bandages
- Triangular slings
- Nitrile gloves – reduces infection risk
- CPR mask – for emergencies
- Trauma shears – for cutting clothing
- First aid guide – instructions for care
- CPR guide – refreshers on technique
Recommended Additional Items
While OSHA and ANSI list required minimums, it’s wise to supplement first aid kits with other useful items:
- Medications – Acetaminophen, antihistamines, antacids, allergy meds can all provide relief for common ailments until proper medical treatment is available.
- Tourniquets – Useful for controlling severe bleeding from traumatic injuries. Studies show early tourniquet use reduces blood loss and saves lives.
- Emergency blankets – Help treat shock and prevent hypothermia in injured workers. Useful if accidents occur in cold weather.
- Biohazard bags – Contain contaminated dressings, clothes, equipment. Reduce infection risks.
- Penlight – Helps assess eye injuries, concussions, and eye reactions.
- QuickClot – Special gauze containing clotting agents to stop heavy bleeding rapidly.
Also consider adding any job-specific supplies. For example, sites using corrosive chemicals may want to stock eyewash solution. Companies doing electrical work could keep electrical burn treatments on hand. Tailor kits to your unique hazards and needs.
First Aid Kit Formats
Construction site first aid kits come in various formats – each with pros and cons:
Kits contained in nylon bags or backpacks offer maximum portability and convenience:
- Lightweight and compact
- Can be worn or carried easily
- Provides access to supplies on the go
Downsides are they tear easily, don’t protect contents from weather/crushing, and lack organization.
Hard Plastic Kits
Kits housed in tough plastic cases keep contents clean, dry, and organized:
- Durable, waterproof, and dustproof
- Stacks neatly against walls
- Interiors have dividers and elastic bands
The rigid case adds weight though, and most must be carried by hand.
Large metal cabinets allow first aid stations to be installed on site:
- High visibility and access
- Storage for excess supplies
- Simplifies reordering/restocking
- Lockable doors provide security
However, wall-mounted cabinets limit portability of supplies and are expensive.
Unitized kits have compartmentalized interiors to separate and organize contents:
- Modular boxes for each supply category
- Colored codes to quickly locate items
- Streamlined reordering of individual boxes
- Simpler for non-medics to use properly
Unitization does add cost and reduces customization though.
Maintaining and Restocking Kits
First aid kits require proper maintenance. Here are some tips:
- Designate an employee as the primary contact for inspecting, restocking, and reordering kit contents. This ensures accountability.
- Check expiration dates on a set schedule. Mark expirations clearly on individual products.
- Note inventory levels and replenish after use. Don’t wait until completely depleted.
- Consider professional servicing – some companies will exchange and refresh kit contents on a routine basis for a fee.
- Document incidents and supplies used – this helps identify deficiencies and volume requirements.
- Provide documentation forms – incident injury logs, inspection cards, supply request forms.
- Rotate stock – use and replace older supplies first to maximize freshness.
Proper first aid kit maintenance ensures you always have adequate effective supplies on hand when needed most.
First Aid and CPR Training
According to OSHA requirements, every construction site must have adequately trained personnel to render first aid in emergencies. Here are some tips:
- Send employees for certification through reputable providers like American Red Cross or American Heart Association courses. Training equips responders with skills and confidence when accidents strike.
- Require both first aid and CPR training – this covers both medical emergencies (first aid) and cardiac events (CPR).
- Include bloodborne pathogens training to limit transmission of blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
- Conduct annual refresher courses so skills remain fresh. People forget protocols quickly without regular practice.
- Train several staff – this ensures someone capable is always present to provide care, even if people are absent.
- Have trainees actually use supplies like wound dressings, splints and CPR masks so they’re familiar with equipment.
Proper first aid and CPR training is just as important as having adequate supplies. The two go hand in hand for saving lives in medical crises.
Construction sites are risky environments where injuries and accidents can happen any time. Well-stocked first aid kits, maintained diligently, can provide urgent care while awaiting professional medical help.
Remember to choose ANSI Class B, Type IV kits that are portable and contain robust supplies for severe construction site injuries. Supplement mandatory minimums with additional useful tools as well. Don’t forget to inspect kits routinely, replace expired or missing items, and keep documentation. Combine adequate supplies with regular certified training, and you’ll be ready to provide fast, effective treatment for injured workers.
Stay safe out there on your construction site! Let me know if you have any other first aid kit tips and tricks. I’m always looking to expand my knowledge to share with readers like yourself.