Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cal/OSHA to Change First Aid Kit Requirement

CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS may have to update and expand their workplace first aid kits next year as Cal/OSHA finalizes new regulations governing what they should contain. The rule-making board for Cal/OSHA has proposed changes that should make it easier to comply as one of the most confusing parts of the regulation is set to be eliminated. A portion of the current rules lays out the requirements for the first aid kit contents, which the employer can deviate from with a note from an employer-authorized licensed physician. The regulations being formulated now would do away with those requirements and instead require employers to have adequate first aid supplies based on the hazards of their workplace, or face a Cal/OSHA citation. The new regulations will essentially be performance standards, since the contents of the kit will be determined by the needs of an employer’s workforce.
Cal/OSHA wants employers to assess the likely injuries in their workplaces and prepare appropriately with supplies and training. The standard is in need of revision as knowledge about first aid has evolved over time. Most small employers are unaware of the consulting provision, but members of Cal/OSHA’s rule-making board say that the provision is unnecessary. Often if there is a note, it is merely a photocopy that has been provided by the manufacturer of the first aid kit.
Many of Cal/OSHA’s board members recommend using the first aid kit contents as recommended by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and that the contents be checked every three months to ensure all of the required suppliers are there.
One piece of good news is that the requirements will likely not cost employers a lot of money. If a business already has an ANSI-approved kit, it would most likely suffice unless there are workplace dangers that may require additional materials. The new rules are expected to take effect in early 2017.

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