How to Inspect Your First Aid Kit
Let’s discuss how and why we should inspect, sanitize and restock your first aid kit. For the purpose of this toolbox talk, we will use the contents of a standard 4 shelf industrial first aid kit as an example but the principles can be applied to any first aid kit.
Why Inspect Your First Aid Cabinet?
The purpose to inspect your first aid cabinet is to organize, prepare for replenishment and ensure it is safe to use. Following these basic steps are easy and only take a minute. The purpose of organizing is to ensure that the contents of your kit are safe and ready to use. Regardless of the type of container/box/bag your supplies are stored, the following points still apply to you. The 4 steps to inspect are:
1. Check for Unsafe/Damaged Products
Check for damaged, soiled, dirty or even partially used products. As a practice, all items should be single use to prevent cross contamination. That means that a tube of ointment that has a resealable cap should be considered contaminated. If this is for home use you can be a little more lenient. Open bottles of eyewash should be thrown out.
2. Check for expiration dates
Many of the items in a first aid kit have a shelf life. The expiration date will be marked on the container or individual package. Items including sprays, ointments, wipes, medicines, eyewash and eyedrops will all have dates. If an outer box does have dates, be sure to check the product inside. Many times like products you are replacing will have different dates. When you mix them it is important to use the old dates first. Product placement and rotation are important. Always put the newer product behind the older. Be especially careful when inspecting the door pouches. Be sure to dispose of expired or used products in the necessary and safe manner.
3. Review & Observe the usage and available inventory.
As you check your supplies, pay attention to how much has been used. This will help you plan for the future, avoiding the possibility of running out of a particular item. Good observation can also help you pinpoint the types of injuries that are occurring, possibly helping you to change work or safety processes and creating a healthier and safer workplace.
4. Arrange & organize the product to it’s appropriate location in the cabinet.
Why are we talking about this now when we have to check the supplies, sanitize the cabinet and then restock? Every item has its place. Consistency is key to managing and maintaining your supplies. When someone uses the supplies, they will always look in the same spot for that item. It will also help you speed up the inventory process after we clean and sanitize the cabinet. Know where your supplies are supposed to be and move the items back to their dedicated spot. This includes items on the door.
After you do this a few times, it moves along quick and this first step should only take a minute or two.