A well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have for both offices and restaurants. It assists in treating minor injuries and provides crucial emergency supplies while awaiting professional medical assistance. Moreover, compliance with OSHA regulations necessitates having a first aid kit and trained staff in most industries. There are various types of first aid kits available with several factors to consider, including classification, contents, and intended uses.
The supplies inside a first aid kit vary depending on the chosen type. According to OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.151, first aid kits and supplies do not need to be approved by a physician before use in a business. However, someone familiar with first aid and the job hazards should select and routinely inspect the kit for expired or missing items.
If the kit contains over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, they should be in single-dose, tamper-evident packages and labeled per FDA requirements. Do not include products known to cause drowsiness in first aid kits. Regardless of the size of the kit or the number of people who may use it, all general first aid kits should include the following types of supplies:
How you use a first aid kit varies by setting, but most are designed to treat minor injuries such as cuts, scrapes, low-grade burns, and superficial wounds. However, some professionals carry specialized kits specific to the common injuries in their field, such as athletic first aid kits or wilderness kits. These kits might include unique items like splints, coagulants, and ace wraps.
There are four factors to consider when purchasing a first aid kit. Incorrectly stocking a first aid kit may mean that you don't have the necessary supplies for treating an injury.
The classification of a first aid kit will depend on the number of first aid supplies, how it's stocked, and the kit's intended use. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association maintain and update these standards.
There are two first aid kit classifications: Class A and Class B. Some first aid kits do not fall within these classifications because of the contained supplies or their intended use.
Class A first aid kits provide a basic range of products to treat common injuries such as small cuts, abrasions, and minor burns. Therefore, Class A first aid kits are good choices for low-population and low-risk workplaces such as offices.
Class B first aid kits provide a broader range and larger number of supplies to handle workplace injuries than other kits. Because of this, Class B first aid kits are the best choice for highly populated, complex, or high-risk workplaces.
Stock the following first aid supplies in your first aid kit.
Keep hand sanitizer in your first aid kit to sanitize your hands before treating injuries. It prevents germs from contaminating open wounds.
Nitrile gloves are one of the most important and underrated aspects for conducting first aid. They provide body substance isolation to protect the rescuer from contracting blood-borne pathogens from the patient.
Scissors, or trauma shears, play several roles in first aid. While they're primarily used to cut bandages to the proper size and shape, they also aid in removing clothing from severely injured patients during treatment.
The term "stop the bleed" is a running mantra in first aid, and a tourniquet is a crucial tool in that initiative. Designed for life-threatening bleeds, it compresses veins and arteries to cut off blood supply to the wound so your patient does not bleed out.
Antiseptic is a staple of any first aid kit used for treating all types of wounds. It destroys microorganism growth, cleansing wounds before applying a bandage.
Splints stabilize and protect broken bones until a professional examines the injury. Do not attempt to set a broken bone unless you receive the appropriate training.
Open wounds are often dirty, especially when they occur outdoors. Antibiotic ointment prevents infections in minor cuts, scrapes, or burns and cleanses wounds before applying the bandage.
Burns are common in commercial kitchens full of hot equipment and busy staff members. Burn treatment reduces the symptoms of the injury, including the associated pain.
Adhesive tape is a must-have for first aid kits. Used for securing bandages to the skin, it's always wise to keep more than the minimum quantity to ensure you have enough for any occasion.
The primary treatment for swelling is the RICE method: rest, ice, compress, and elevate. A cold pack allows you to handle bruises, sprains, and other swollen areas.
Commonly used in wilderness medicine, triangular bandages are ideal for slinging and swathing damaged limbs and wrapping around wounds to make a large pressure bandage. You can also cut up clean sheets as an alternative in a pinch.
A trauma pad is extremely absorbent and used for treating large wounds. When applying pressure, add a second trauma pad or bandage on top of the injury rather than replacing it.
Adhesive bandages are handy for covering open wounds and controlling bleeding. These bandages conveniently stick to the skin, eliminating the need for additional materials to hold them in place.
A breathing barrier is crucial for performing rescue breathing in CPR safely, protecting the patient and rescuer from germs or foreign bodily fluids. Simple breathing barriers are plastic coverings with a valve, but more extensive first aid kits might have a full mask.
While emergency training is crucial, actions during a real crisis are unpredictable. A first aid guide outlines treatments, such as applying a tourniquet, in simple terms so staff members perform them correctly.
Contained in sealed packages until use, sterile pads control bleeding and absorb bodily fluids from wounds. They also cover antibiotic and antiseptic applications on wounds.
Use a gel-soaked burn dressing as part of your burn treatment. These bandages help cool and cleanse burns while also protecting them from germs.
Your eyes are vulnerable to flying irritants ranging from fluids to errant nails or splinters. Use an eye covering to protect an injured eye until proper treatment.
If a foreign object or subject gets into the eye, use eye wash to rinse the contaminants from the affected area. These irritants include chemicals, physical contaminants, or liquids.
Once you apply a bandage or trauma pad to a bleeding wound, use a rolled bandage to secure the dressing and continue applying pressure. A 2" rolled bandage is ideal for small areas such as an arm or foot.
A 4" rolled bandage is crucial for creating pressure bandages to treat severe wounds. Wrap it around the dressing to hold it in place, or use it to secure a splint or sling.
While these additional first aid supplies are not officially required, they help rescuers gather information and provide necessary treatment for injuries. If reusable items are utilized during treatment, thoroughly clean and sterilize them before replacing them in the kit.
First aid kit containers are classified by their portability, resistance to water, corrosion, and impacts, and ability to be mounted in a single location. There are four different types of first aid kit containers.
Designed for indoor use, type I first aid kit containers are intended to be stationary or mounted. They're best for areas with a low chance of damaging the contents from environmental exposure or rough handling. As a result, office settings and manufacturing facilities often have a type I kit.
Type II first aid kit containers are generally smaller and less expensive than other kits. They must be portable with a functioning carrying handle. Like type I kits, they are best for areas where rough handling or environmental factors won't damage the contents.
Type III first aid kit containers are more durable than types I and II, featuring a waterproof seal and both portable and mounting options. They are designed for mobile, indoor, or sheltered outdoor use where damage is not probable. However, the kit can protect the contents from minor environmental elements.
Found in construction, transportation, and outdoor settings, type IV first aid kit containers have the most robust requirements. They must be waterproof and meet special performance requirements for corrosion, moisture, and impact resistance. With options for mounting or carrying, these kits are ideal for rough settings where damage is likely.
The size of the first aid kit you need will depend upon the number of people working in a facility and the types of injuries of expected injuries. An undersized kit won't prepare you with the necessary supplies to treat an employee's injury or illness. Furthermore, an oversized first aid kit leads to confusion while attempting to treat injuries and expired supplies.
For example, an office with a few employees may only need a simple first aid kit to treat minor injuries such as headaches, nausea, and paper cuts. Large commercial kitchens or manufacturing facilities will require large, more complex first aid kits with supplies to treat more significant injuries such as burns, cuts from blades, and mild to moderate pain. If a cardiac emergency arises, having an AED (automated external defibrillator) can save lives, so we recommend investing in one even though they aren't a required first aid kit item.
Because of the varying degrees of first aid training among staff, include an information card outlining how to treat basic injuries and illnesses with first aid kits. These instructions should be easy to read and understand, contain diagrams or pictures to help visualize first aid treatment skills, and cover usage instructions for all the supplies inside the first aid kit.
Most pre-assembled first aid kits include this information in a booklet or pamphlet. If you add supplemental information to your first aid kits, check that it is from a credible source such as ANSI or ISEA. Regularly reviewing information in the first aid kits is necessary to ensure it is up to date with the latest medical best practices.
Include the following information inside a first aid kit or as a poster near the first aid station:
Depending on the specific needs of your business, you may require one of these specialized first aid kits.
Burn relief kits contain all the supplies necessary to treat burn injuries. Proper use of burn supplies helps reduce patient pain and minimize scarring. Most burn kits have ointment to sterilize the injured area and reduce pain, dressings and gauze to cover burns, and gel to cool the injury and promote healing.
First aid emergency kits contain the necessary first aid supplies to handle most common first aid injuries and illnesses, as well as some additional supplies that can be helpful in survival, search and rescue, or disaster events.
In addition to medical supplies, these kits may include rescue supplies such as whistles, flashlights, food and water ration packets, and emergency blankets. Emergency kits generally come in large duffel bag-style containers with carrying straps, secure closure buckles, and reflective emblems for visibility.
First aid travel kits are generally small and perfect for placing in vehicles or luggage. These kits have fewer supplies than other types of first aid kits as their primary purpose is to be a compact kit used to treat minor injuries or illnesses.
Travel kits come in a variety of containers. Some come in plastic or metal cases that can be mounted inside cars. Others are small, zippered cases perfect for sliding in a glove compartment or suitcase.
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