First aid in the workplace is not just a sensible precaution, it is a legal requirement. How you go about providing the first aid equipment and supplies is up to you as a business owner. However, most small businesses make do with a simple first aid kit to store the essentials. Once your business gets to a certain size though, you’ll want to start to think about a first aid cabinet – so we have written this handy guide to help you out.
What is a first aid cabinet?
Industrial first aid cabinets are basically purpose-built cupboards to store, organise and give access to first aid supplies. They are uniquely marked (typically being bright white with first aid stickers/markings) to make it clear at a glance that emergency supplies are inside. Of course, your business could just designate a standard cabinet for medical supplies – but it may not be securable (which can lead to theft that might only be discovered when you need something in an emergency), and it might be hard for untrained or new staff, visitors or other personnel to find it quickly.
What should you look for in a first aid cabinet?
First aid cabinets are typically used to store bulk supplies or larger items, as a supplement to smaller first aid kits. This means that they can be locked up – something you definitely want to avoid for your smaller kits. Look for a good quality, two-point locking system to ensure that your supplies do not go missing, and assign specific personnel to carry the keys: usually your first aid trained people are the logical choice.
Construction-wise, look for something sturdy like an all-steel build. This will make sure that your cabinet is long-lasting and will not be damaged by the rigours of a busy site. You’ll also want to make sure that the cabinet has a decent weight capacity – while individual bandages and gauzes do not weigh very much, bulk disinfectants, sanitisers and alcohol solutions can soon add to the overall heaviness.
On the topic of storing liquids, you should also look for shelves that have a slight lip – this will prevent any spills or leaks from affecting the rest of your stored goods, and make the process of cleaning them up a lot easier.
The size of your cabinet will depend on the amount of space you have available to install it, how many people you typically have on site and how often there are accidents requiring first aid supplies. For larger premises, you can install small or medium-sized cabinets in strategic locations around the site to make accessing them more convenient, or if you have a smaller site with a dedicated first aid room then it makes sense to install a larger version in that space.
Mobility can be an important factor in some sites, and if this applies to yours then you should look at a first aid cabinet that is mounted on castors so you can move it about easily and quickly. It still needs a dedicated ‘home’ though, as you cannot afford to have people trying to find the cabinet in the event of an emergency. If space is at a premium a wall-mounted cabinet might be the answer for you, as you can save on valuable floor space and still reap the benefits.