Updated: Dec 20, 2021
First aid is an important part of a safe and healthy work environment. This safety talk looks at what you need to consider when deciding first aid equipment and facilities you need at work, and suggests ways to help you organize your First Aid kits, facilities and first aiders.
What is First Aid?
First aid is the immediate and basic care given to injured or sick people before a doctor, emergency services or health professional takes over the treatment. It focuses on minimising serious injury and preserving life. (eg. Maintaining breathing, circulation, stopping bleeding and stabilising broken bones)
First Aid Requirements for your Workplace
When considering what first aid facilities, equipment and first aiders you need,
consider the nature of the work carried out for your business as well as the
physical locations where the work is completed.
All workers, including those working night shifts or outside of usual working
hours, must be able to access first aid equipment, facilities and first aiders
Nature of work and its risks:
Some workplaces have a greater risk of injury and illness than others due to the nature
of the work. (eg. workers in factories, automotive workshops, construction sites) These
workplaces when an injury occurs would require immediate medical treatment and
require different first aid arrangements than someone in a low risk workplace (office,
retail store) Your Incident Register will provide information regarding previous injuries
and near misses which may be useful in helping you decide what kind of first aid
facilities and equipment you need available.
Physical size and location:
First aid equipment and facilities should be easy for all workers to access, ideally within
minutes in an emergency. Consider:
• The distance between different work areas
• Response times for emergency services
• If you have remote or isolated workers
You may need to provide first aid equipment and facilities in more than one part of your
• The workplace is a long way from emergency services, a medical centre or hospital
• Workers are scattered over a wide area in the workplace
• The workplace has more than one floor on level
Number and composition of workers and other people
Consider the maximum number of workers you could have, including contractors and
volunteer workers. A larger workforce often requires more first aid resources. Other
• Needs of workers (asthma, allergies, disabilities and known health concerns
• Enough first aiders rostered onto each shift
• All workers, including those working outside daylight hours can access first aid kits,
facilities and other equipment.
• Enough first aiders are available to cover annual leave and sick leave
• Other people at work (clients, visitors, couriers, contractors, casual volunteers)
When the work of two or more PCBU’s overlap, they must communicate, consult,
cooperate and coordinate activities to meet their health and safety responsibilities to
workers and others. By consulting with each other they can avoid duplicating their
efforts and prevent any gaps in managing work health and safety risks.
First Aid Kits
A PCBU must provide at least one first aid kit for each workplace and ensure workers
know where it is. Kits should contain basic equipment to attending to injuries. What
is provided in the kit should be based on the particular risks of the work carried
out at the workplace (eg. high risk for eye injuries - include eyewash, eye-pads).
Where there are separate work area’s (departments, floors, buildings, work vehicles)
there should be a first aid kit in each area and the emergency floor plan or site map
displayed to show where the first aid kit is located.
For remote or isolated workers a plan to seek medical assistance must be provided.
If you choose to include pain relief medication in your first aid kits such as
paracetamol, you need to be aware that this medication can make certain people
ill (eg. pregnant woman) The pain relief medication needs to remain in the original
packet and in suitable over the counter quantities. This medication can only be
provided by a medically trained person or self-administrated by the worker.
The kit needs to be clearly labelled “First Aid Kit” and checked on a regular basis to
ensure stocked adequately and is not damaged or contaminated.
Other first aid items to consider are
the need for Automated External
Defibrillator (risk of electrocution/ delay
in ambulance), emergency showers,
eye-wash stations (chemical use), first
aid room, wheelchair.
Image to left - Example of a basic first aid kit
WorkSafe recommends workers are trained by an accredited New Zealand
Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Once the course is completed the worker will be
issued with a first aid certificate which is valid for 2 years. Refresher training is
required after the 2 years to keep the certificate and updated their knowledge.
Our team are available if you require assistance with establishing first aid
within your company.
Please contact us if you require any advice or check out our website:
or check out Worksafe’s First Aid Guide available on their website.