FIRST AID KITS: THE RIGHT WRAP
The prepared contractor hopes they never need them, but are glad to have them when they do
By Larry Walton
You’ve seen the signs: First Aid Kit On Board. The purpose is to let employees know where the first aid kit is located on the jobsite.
These signs can also be a welcome site in the event of an automobile accident. In fact, company work pickups are often ad hoc first responders in cases of emergency.
This is a good reason to keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your mobile office.
The safety of your crew is another good reason to keep these portable medical supplies on hand. Construction workers and landscapers are familiar with minor cuts and abrasions, it’s part of the job.
But properly caring for these small wounds can keep them from becoming big problems.
Of course another good reason is OSHA compliance. OSHA says, “Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.”
OSHA cites ANSI Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits. Your state may also use the ANSI list or it can specify additional content.
Usually kits labeled as ANSI-compliant are a good idea on company pickup trucks.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you are making provision for the type of work you will be around with your pickup.
Eye wash kits for some, burn care for others. In many cases, the main first aid supplies are located in the tool trailer, job shack, onsite office, weigh station or other jobsite structure. In other cases your pickup is it. Prepare accordingly.
Fortunately over the years we haven’t had to get very deep into the first aid kits we carry on our pickups. Regular ¾-inch bandages, sure, those disappear quickly on the jobsite, but we’ve rarely had to get into any gauze or medical tape.
These days if anyone is bleeding at all just about everyone on the crew wants that bleeding stopped, if not out of concern for the injured worker then out of self-protection. No one wants to be exposed to blood-borne pathogens.
That’s why vinyl gloves are the number 2 item we go through out of our first aid kits. If one of the guys needs help with a bandage, out come the gloves.
Attention to these frequently used first aid supplies helps us keep our kits fully stocked.
In addition to keeping the 3/4-inch strips in the first aid box, we also keep a supplementary supply of common bandage sizes along with some latex gloves in a ziplock bag handy in our pickups, which often keeps guys from rifling through the primary jobsite first aid kits unnecessarily.
Keeping these first aid kits stocked and up to date is an ongoing process. The best method is to keep track of what was removed and replace it.
Because construction first aid kits actually get used, it’s a good idea to check supplies at every safety meeting. Missing items can be re-supplied from common medical supplies found at the local drug store. (Use the ANSI kit content list as a shopping list.)
We recently checked the contents of an ANSI-compliant first aid kit against an all-purpose consumer first aid kit of similar size.
Missing from the all-purpose kit were specific bandage types (knuckle, fingertip), more sizes of gauze pads, burn cream, moleskin, eye pad, tweezers, ibuprofen, aspirin and Tylenol – all items that could come in handy on the jobsite.
Your mobile office’s first aid kit – hope you don’t need it, glad to have it when you do.