Constructing Better Health News Updates

New British Standard for First Aid Kits


The BSI (British Standard Institute) have recently published the new BS-8599 British Standard Workplace First Aid Kits and allowing up until 31st December 2011 for businesses to conform.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) regulations 1981 states: “An employer shall provide or ensure that there are provided such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first aid to be rendered to his employees if the are injured or become ill at work”.

With the introduction of the new standard, the following changes to the kits have been made:

• An increased quantity of nitrile gloves

• More plasters available.

• More sterile wipes available

• A reduced number of medium and large dressings.

• Fewer triangular bandages in line with first aid practice which no longer suggests immobilizing limbs.

• Introduction of a smaller finger dressing for small injuries .

• Burns gel dressing and a conforming bandage to secure it.

• Adhesive tape is now included to secure dressings along with usual safety pins.

• The introduction of a foil emergency blanket for keeping casualties warm and preventing shock

• To prevent cross infection, a mouth to mouth one way valve resuscitation device

• Travel kits with eyewash as it is unlikely that fixed eye wash stations will be available.

• A new first aid guidance leaflet with the latest HSE guidelines.

As well as the new inventory for the first aid kits, four sizes will be introduced; workplace small, medium, large and a travel kit. In order for employers to select the correct first aid kit for their particular work place, a risk assessment is crucial to determine the hazard levels and number of employees within the area.

The BSi has outlined a guide to help employers select the most suitable kit for their requirements:

Low Hazard Workplace (e.g. shops, offices etc.)

- Less than 25 employees – small kit

- 25 – 100 employees – medium size kit

- Over 100 employees – 1 large kit per 100 employees

High Hazard Workplace (e.g. extensive work with machinery, food processing, warehousing etc.)

- Less than 5 employees – small size kit

- 5 – 25 employees – medium size kit

- Over 25 employees – 1 large kit per 25 employees

The HSE who worked on the development of the standard has issued the following as a response to frequently asked questions about this subject:

First aid kits and British Standard 8599

There is a British Standard BS 8599 for first aid kits, it is not a regulatory requirement under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to purchase kits that comply with this standard. Instead the contents of a first aid box is dependent on an employers first aid needs assessment.

This means for employers following a needs assessment the options are:
1. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents complies with BS 8599 and matches your needs assessment;
2. Within your workplace you have access to a first aid kit whose contents matches your needs assessment but does not comply with the requirements of BS 8599

For full details of the new British Standard BS8599 go to and enter First Aid Box in search or 8599


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