Even with the most stringent safety requirements, accidents happen on construction sites. The best way to protect your workers and keep your construction site moving is to have a fully stocked first aid kit available.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rules and regulations about first aid kit requirements. The standards exist so employees can receive immediate care before heading off to a clinic or hospital for more serious needs.
Employers can also use first aid kits for minor injuries like cuts and scrapes to keep the site moving.
Filling your first aid kit with items like a defibrillator or epinephrine pen can save lives in the minutes before first responders arrive.
Fatal Injuries at Construction Sites
According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 2011 the construction industry added 25 percent more jobs, which resulted in more injuries. In 2019, one out of three injuries was a fall. Of the 991 construction-site deaths that year, falls were responsible for 401 fatalities.
Other fatalities happened because of electrocutions, caught in-between, and struck-by accidents. Unfortunately, most fatal falls occur on small job sites with fewer than 20 employees. While first aid kits can’t fix every accident, they can provide immediate care that could save lives before the emergency responders arrive.
Other Serious Injuries at Construction Sites
Construction workers expose themselves to danger throughout the day. The first aid kit should have supplies that help workers if they fall victim to any potential problems.
Burns and Scarring
Because job sites have chemicals and other items that could combust, first aid kits need supplies to manage burn care.
Cuts and Lacerations
Tools, machinery and exposed nails often cause cuts and lacerations. Without first aid care, cuts can become infected, causing missed work. Employees should wear protective gear to prevent lacerations.
Broken bones happen when tools and heavy equipment are not properly maintained or secured. Employers should have strict rules to prevent injuries, but accidents happen so the first aid kit should have supplies to treat broken, fractured, or crushed bones.
Loss of Limbs
Heavy equipment and sharp objects can result in traumatic limb loss. The first aid kit should have supplies like a tourniquet and bandages to slow blood loss before first responders arrive.
Construction workers are exposed to situations that could result in hearing loss, heat stroke, frostbite, stress injuries, and vision loss. Employees should wear protective gear to prevent injuries, but accidents can still happen regardless.
Satisfying the Needs at the Worksite
Contractor first aid kits need to take care of the plethora of accidents that occur at the job site. The supplies should be accessible in a centralized location so all employees can get the immediate care they need. All employees on the site should know the location of the first aid kit so that anyone on the site can help their fellow workers.
Your first aid kit should comply with OSHA and state requirements. The goals of the construction site first aid kit should be to care for minor injuries to get workers back on the job and to assist with serious injuries to stabilize workers before an EMT arrives.
Along with supplying the first aid kit, someone on the job site must have valid first aid training from an organization like the Red Cross. Employers must have written certification on the job site. If the job site is within three or four minutes of emergency services like a hospital or clinic, then the first aid certification requirements are no longer needed.
Stakeholders on the job site should post the telephone numbers of local emergency services, especially if 911 emergency care is not available. The job site should have a telephone available so workers can contact emergency services when an injury occurs.
Why Have a First Aid Kit
The top reason to have a first aid kit at a job site is to help employees. For example, if an employee receives a small cut, they can use the first aid kit to apply a bandage.
If the site does not have a first aid kit, then the workers will need to leave the site for care. After applying the bandage, the contractor can get back to work. The kit helps the employee and keeps the job site moving along.
A first aid kit can help save lives. If a worker has an allergy to bee stings and is stung on the job site, having an epinephrine injector can save the worker’s life. Without an injector in the first aid kit, the employee could die while waiting for an EMT to arrive. The same goes for having a defibrillator on site, as the device could save the worker’s life before first responders arrive.
First Aid Needs for Every Jobsite
First aid kits should be stocked to meet OSHA standards to provide care after an injury.
The kit should have tools that can help employees assess the first aid needs which could include flowcharts and step-by-step instructions. If your kit has a defibrillator or an epinephrine injector, instructions for use should also be included.
Another vital part of the kit is the list of employees with first-aid training. At least one of those employees should be on the job site along with their certification paperwork. Their training should satisfy the needs for the most common injuries on the job site. If you have a defibrillator, someone should know how to use it.
The first aid requirements also include a safe spot for services to be provided. This area should be in a centralized location and provide some privacy. Employers should establish a system to record the injuries and first aid services provided. Someone should be responsible for restocking the first aid kit, too.
First aid kits should have supplies that will be useful for all types of injuries that could happen at the site. Fortunately, OSHA has a list of required items for construction sites.