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ANSI releases revised workplace first-aid kit standard

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The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has released a revised workplace first-aid kit standard that expands supplies and introduces two classes of first-aid kits.

ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015, American National Standard-Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies, was prepared by members of the International Safety Equipment Association's (ISEA) first-aid group and leading industry stakeholders. It was approved by a consensus review panel of health and safety experts, unions, construction industry and other user groups, test labs and government agencies.

The 2015 revision corrects a minor measurement conversion error in the 2014 edition, with respect to the United States' measurement for minimum application for antibiotic and antiseptic supplies. The 2015 revision replaces the 2014 edition; therefore, the effective date of this standard is June 2016.

One of the most significant changes from previous editions is the introduction of two classes of first-aid kits, based on the assortment and quantity of first-aid supplies. Class A kits are designed to deal with most common workplace injuries, such as minor cuts, abrasions and sprains. First-aid kits designated as Class B include a broader range and quantity of supplies to deal with injuries in more complex or high-risk environments.

First-aid kits are also designated by Type (I, II, III or IV) depending on the work environment in which they are to be used. For example, Type 1 identifies kits used indoors and permanently mounted to a wall or other structure; Type IV kits are suitable for outdoor use and must pass tests for corrosion, moisture and impact resistance.

“The multi-tiered approach of designating kits allows employers to make practical choices based on the nature of the work area, recognizing that each workplace differs in potential risk and task load,“ said David Lapp, chairman of ISEA's first aid group and senior product manager at Honeywell Safety Products.  “By expanding the items in a basic first-aid kit, employees will have greater access to items needed to treat their injuries as quickly as possible.”

Many of the first-aid supplies previously identified as being recommendations in the 2009 standard are now required for both newly-designated kit types. In addition, scissors are to be included in both classes of kits and a splint and a tourniquet are both required for a Class B first-aid kit.  

“In deciding how best to meet the needs of workers, we looked at the increasing rates of workplace incidents where first-aid treatment was administered and we considered the current practices in treating such injuries,” said Lapp. 

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