Tel: +27 10 592 2111      Email:
Close this search box.

The Essential Components of a Workplace First Aid Kit

Table of Contents

Understanding the significance of a well-equipped First Aid kit in the workplace

At the heart of workplace safety lies the ability to respond promptly to any medical incident, and a crucial element of this response is the presence of a fully stocked first aid kit. The workplace is bustling with activities and, despite health and safety measures, accidents can still occur. Being prepared with the right first aid items ensures the quick and effective handling of injuries to protect your most important asset: your workforce.

Under the OHS Act of South Africa, it is a legal requirement for workplaces to have a first aid box that complies with Regulation 7. This guarantees that, in the event of an incident, immediate and suitable care is available. A comprehensive first aid kit at hand is an essential component of the health and safety environment within your company.

first aid kit

What should be in a First Aid kit: The essential components

Stocking a first aid kit involves striking a balance between essential first aid items and those specific to the hazards of your workplace. Your kit should be equipped to handle routine injuries and also be adaptable enough to tackle less common but potentially severe emergencies.

Here’s an essential first aid box checklist, including the first aid box items and their uses, to ensure you’re well-prepared for a variety of medical situations:

These are the minimum prescribed first aid kit supplies that should be in your first aid kit

Item 1Wound cleaner / antiseptic (100ml)
Item 2Gauze Swabs for cleaning wounds x 25
Item 3Cotton wool for padding (100g)
Item 4Sterile gauze (minimum quantity 10)
Item 51 x pair of forceps (for splinters)
Item 61 x pair of scissors (minimum size 100mm)
Item 71 x set of safety pins
Item 84 x triangular bandages
Item 94 x conforming bandages (75mm x 5m)
Item 10 4 x conforming bandages (100mm x 5m)
Item 111 x roll of elastic adhesive (25mm x 3m)
Item 121 x Non-allergenic adhesive strip (25mm x 3m)
Item 131 x Packet of adhesive dressing strips (minimum quantity 10 assorted sizes)
Item 144 x First aid dressings – No 3 (75mm x 100mm)
Item 154 x First aid dressings – No 5 (150mm x 200mm)
Item 162 x Straight splints
Item 172 x Pairs large and 2 x pairs medium disposable latex gloves
Item 182 x CPR mouth pieces or similar devices
Item 19Adequate supply of absorbent material – like paper towels – for absorption of blood and other body fluids spilled
Item 20Disinfectant to disinfect the area after cleaning up blood and other body fluids spilled.
Item 211 x Pair large and 1 x pair medium disposable rubber household gloves.
Item 222 x 2-ply Paper face masks
Item 231 x Absorbent gel (50g)
Item 24 A suitable sized self-seal bag for the safe disposal of blood and other body fluid contaminated biohazard materials

These items comprise the core of your first aid box contents, which should be tailored to the unique needs of your workplace environment. For example, environments with a risk of burns may require a range of burn dressings and eye wash solutions as part of their first aid equipment.

A first aid kit for emergencies requires regular checks and restocking to ensure all first aid kit supplies remain current and ready for immediate use. This vigilance guarantees that your first aid supplies are consistently up to date and available when needed.

first aid box

Maintaining your First Aid kit: Ensuring readiness for emergencies

Maintaining a first aid kit is a continuous process that ensures readiness for any workplace emergency. The upkeep of your first aid box or medical aid kit is as important as having one available. This means routinely checking and restocking essential first aid box items to ensure they are in good condition and within their expiry dates.

The first aid kit supplies should be scrutinised regularly, with each item assessed for functionality and sterility. Employers are responsible for appointing a competent person to carry out these checks, using a condensed version of a 1st aid kit checklist to guide them. This checklist should include the following:

  • Sterilisation products like antiseptic wipes and wound cleaner
  • Various dressing materials including gauze, bandages, and adhesive strips
  • Splinting materials and safety pins for immobilisation
  • Disposable gloves and face masks for infection control
  • CPR mouthpieces for resuscitation efforts
  • Absorbent materials and disinfectants for clean-up of biohazardous material

Each first aid kit item serves a purpose, from providing immediate care, like adhesive bandages for cuts, to more specific uses, such as burn dressings for thermal injuries. The uses of first aid box items are varied, addressing everything from minor injuries to life-threatening situations.

First aid supplies should be easily accessible and regularly updated, which not only complies with OHS regulations but also reassures employees that their health and safety are taken seriously.

Choosing the right First Aid kit for your workplace

Selecting the appropriate first aid kit for your workplace is a decision that should be influenced by the specific needs and risks associated with your working environment. A generic first aid box may not suffice if your workplace presents unique hazards. Here are the factors to consider:

  • Workplace hazards: Evaluate the types of incidents that are most likely to occur in your workplace. Whether it’s mechanical injuries, burns, or exposure to hazardous substances, ensure your first aid kit contains items tailored to address these risks.
  • Size and layout of the workplace: The number of first aid kits and their locations should be dictated by the size of your workforce and the layout of your facility. Larger sites may require several strategically placed kits.
  • Availability of First Aid equipment: Apart from the basic first aid items, consider if there’s a need for specialised equipment such as defibrillators or oxygen tanks, especially in high-risk areas.
  • Accessibility: First aid kits should be easily accessible and their locations well-known to all employees. Consider signage to direct staff to the nearest first aid kit or medical aid kit.
  • Regular reviews and restocks: The contents of your first aid box should be reviewed and replenished regularly. This ensures that every first aid item is always available and ready to use.

The contents of the first aid box are only as useful as the knowledge of those who might need to use them. This is why training and familiarity with first aid equipment are pivotal. Employees should know not only where the first aid box is located but also the uses of each item within it. 

Given the variety of first aid kits for sale, it’s worth seeking out suppliers who can provide first aid kit supplies that meet both the general and specific needs of your workplace. The right supplier will help you assemble a first aid box checklist that aligns with your requirements, ensuring that you have everything you need for a swift and effective emergency response.

first aid kit items

The role of First Aid training in workplace safety

A well-stocked first aid kit is essential, but it’s the hands that use it that can truly make the difference. First aid training is the linchpin that holds safety measures together, enabling employees to respond effectively to accidents and emergencies.

Here’s why comprehensive first aid training is vital:

  • Confidence Under Pressure: Trained individuals are much more likely to remain calm during an emergency, providing effective care with the available first aid items.
  • Proper Application of First Aid Supplies: Knowledge of first aid box items and their uses ensures that every item, from bandages to splints, is used optimally to manage injuries.
  • Minimising Risk of Complications: Trained personnel can reduce the risk of further harm by applying correct first aid techniques while waiting for medical professionals.
  • Cultivating a Safety-First Culture: First aid training fosters an environment where employees take proactive steps towards maintaining a safe workplace.

First aid training should be thorough, covering basic and potentially life-saving techniques, including CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), where relevant. It should also be remembered that first aid certificates are not indefinite; they require renewal, ensuring skills remain sharp and practices are up-to-date.

To reinforce training, consider having your first aid box checklist visible near each first aid kit for a quick reminder of contents and uses. This can be instrumental in an emergency when time is of the essence.

The combination of having the right first aid supplies and trained personnel constitutes a robust framework for handling workplace health and safety. Investing in quality training shows a dedication to your employees’ well-being and can significantly influence the outcome of any workplace incident.


In closing, remember that workplace safety is about more than meeting compliance standards; it’s about fostering a culture that values each individual’s health and well-being. A fully equipped first aid kit, backed by a team trained in its use, lays the foundation for this culture.

If you’re looking to enhance your workplace’s first aid capabilities, remember to download our comprehensive first aid kit checklist. It’s your blueprint for ensuring that your organisation is well-equipped, prepared, and in line with South African OHS regulations.

Always be a step ahead when it comes to safety. Equip your workplace with the necessary first aid supplies and ensure that your team is trained and ready—because when it comes to emergencies, preparedness is everything.

First Aid Kit Checklist

Maintaining a properly stocked first-aid kit in your workplace is crucial, as mandated by 

Regulation 7.

To ensure you’re prepared for emergencies, download our free checklist. It will be a 

valuable resource for responding effectively to any situation requiring first aid.

Ready to start your training?

Don’t mis out on any course offerings in your area! Download our course schedule now to get all the details about prices and dates.