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Unfortunately, accidents in the workplace happen. It’s the job of every employer to make sure adequate first aid amenities and arrangements are in place to protect workers’ health and safety if something goes wrong.

Depending on the workplace, first aid can mean providing facilities such as first aid kits and providing access to amenities such as toilets, drinking water, seating, change rooms and washing facilities. Information about the promotion of health and safety should be shared between employees and employers – ensuring everyone has a say in how best to reduce exposure to workplace health and safety risks.

Safe Work Australia has developed a Code of Practice on first aid in the workplace – approved under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act). Like all workplace health and safety codes of practice, it provides a practical guide to business owners on how to comply with first aid requirements under the WHS Act and includes information on first aid kits, procedures, facilities and training for first aiders.

Every business must assess their own first aid requirements, as certain work environments have greater risks of injury and illness. There are different requirements for different workplaces based on factors such as:

  • The nature of the work being carried out at the workplace
  • The nature of the hazards at the workplace
  • The size, location and nature of the workplace
  • The number and composition of the workers at the workplace

First aid kit

All workers must be able to access a first aid kit. Some workplaces require more than one kit. It must be placed in a prominent position and should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries including:

  • Cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters.
  • Muscular sprains and strains.
  • Minor burns.
  • Amputations and/or major bleeding wounds.
  • Broken bones.
  • Eye injuries.
  • Shock.

The type of work undertaken and the risk of injuries will determine what additional first aid items may be required at your workplace.

First aid signs

Signs that clearly indicate the location of first aid equipment are important and should meet industry standards.

First aid training

According to the Safe Work Australia First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice: “A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.”

A first aider can be someone who is an employee, or it may be someone from another business who shares the same workplace. Importantly, any first aider must have attained a nationally endorsed first aid qualification from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

First aid policies

Developing first aid policies and procedures for your business should be based on compliance with the First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice in your jurisdiction. Use the links below to find the Code of Practice relevant to your business’s location: