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How to Restock Your First Aid Cabinet(s)

ANSI 308.1 compliance just got easier!

The ANSI Z308.1-2015 first aid kit supplies requirements took effect June 15, 2016. The following guide to ANSI first aid compliance will quickly inform and prepare you to make the right decisions. This brief guide will show you:

  • How to determine what type of ANSI first aid kit you need

  • Select the appropriate kit for your facility

  • How to maintain & refill your ANSI kit


1. Determine what type of ANSI first aid kit you need

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has established the requirements for first aid supplies necessary for the workplace and OSHA enforces those requirements. Based on the ANSI Z308.1-2015 standard, ANSI has created two different classes of first aid kits. Your organization falls into one of them.


  • Class A (smaller size facility that does not have a potential for high-risk injury type work) Common workplace injuries like minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions, burns and strains are included. It may look like this example here to the right. This is a plastic box with a rubber seal to keep moisture out. The contents are the exact specifications for Class A first aid kits.

  • Class B - (larger facilities where the chances of injury increase or high-risk injury potential) There are more types and quantities of supplies meant to deal with environments where injury risks are more prone. This example is a metal industrial 2-3 shelf type box that is designed to be mounted on a wall. First aid service companies typically use these types of containers with 2 - 5 shelves based on your needs.


2. Select the Appropriate Kit

Based on your work environment, the appropriate type of container should be selected. ANSI has addressed the types of containers based on indoor or outdoor use and these 4 factors:

  • Portable

  • Mountable

  • Water Resistant

  • Water Proof

It isn't complicated. In most cases your facility will use a wall mounted first aid kit. It does not need to be water-resistant or proof unless there is a risk of water exposure. If you are placing kits in a vehicle or construction site gang box, a portable kit that is water resistant would be required. Again, if you know water will be present, a water resistant or waterproof container is required. Marine or pool activities are ideal for this type of kit and a class A list is almost always used for these types of environments.


Don't be fooled While many first aid sellers like to put a number of people like 25 as a line between Class A & B kits, the classes were created based on risk and injury type. Use common sense and ensure the right type of supplies are included. Don’t settle for just the ANSI Z308.1-2015 minimum requirements. Don’t fall for a kit that has 401 pieces inside the kit. Most likely 350 of them are not necessary and the items you really need are not in the kit. Add items that work best for your workplace. Your employees need to have adequate supplies for their needs.


3. Inspecting, Maintaining & Refilling your ANSI First Aid Cabinet


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.

A. 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. It is best to use "single use" type products to avoid potential of cross contamination.

B. Check 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 eye drops will all have expiration dates. If a product box contains an expiration date on it, be sure to check the product inside. Many times, like products you are replacing will have different dates. If 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. More about this will be covered in the "restock and refill" section.

C. Review 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.

D. Organize Products to Appropriate Location Why are we talking about this now when we have to check the supplies, sanitize the cabinet and then restock? Every item has it's 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 suppose 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.



How to Organize & Sanitize Your First Aid Kit


You should have already inspected the cabinet for damaged, partially used or unsafe products and thrown those away. Any expired products would be discarded as well. Those steps are critical to properly maintaining a first aid cabinet. Once done, you can sanitize your cabinet using a simple 3 step process.

1. Empty the cabinet 1 shelf at a time. Place the items you are removing temporarily on another shelf or on top of the cabinet. This is a great opportunity to once again check for any scraps or items that do not belong there and discard them. Keep in mind that you may have missed some expired or unsafe products. It is common for first aid kits to have too many products on each shelf and items get overlooked during inspection because they are hidden behind other items. Keep track of where the items came from. A simple trick is to take the items on the top shelf and set them on the bottom shelf, keeping them in the same order.

2. Use a real sanitizing disinfectant spray to sanitize the shelf. Use a combination cleaner/disinfectant spray because it not only disinfects, but it also cleans. We have several products that are perfect for this task. Notice how we have never used the word "Clean" to describe this step? The goal isn't just to clean and tidy, but to sanitize. Think about it... people who are bleeding or sick open the cabinet and handle the supplies. You want to ensure that the cabinet is safe from any contamination. You want to reduce any potential cross contamination.

Be sure to wear protective gloves made from vinyl, latex, or nitrile while you sanitize. Work one shelf at a time, spraying the cleaner, waiting a minute and then using a paper towel to wipe is down.

It is important to remember that germs from the common cold or flu can be spread quickly and easily from doors, handles and even first aid kits. Don't forget to sanitize the outside of the cabinet as well. Be sure to sanitize the latches, snaps, handles, front facing door and any other area including the shelves of your first aid cabinet to prevent the spreading of germs.

It might be necessary to use a good degreaser cleaner for the dirt as some of these germicidal sanitizing sprays are not designed to cut through grease.

3. After you have sanitized the cabinet, place the items back, organizing them in their correct places. Again, use this opportunity to look over the products for expired dates or other reasons why you should not put the product back in the cabinet. If you have a checklist, use it to help you place the items back in the correct order.

If this is your first time organizing your cabinet, consider grouping your supplies so similar items are together. Keep the gauze with the gauze, bandages with the bandages and medicines grouped together as well. Ultimately, you will want to use a checklist to make this task fast and easy. RedHeartFirstAid.com has checklists and refill supplies you need to help sanitize and restock your first and kit.

Your first aid kit is now ready to be restocked. Sometimes, empty cartons will be thrown away by others. When you visually inspect your cabinet, it may be difficult to remember what was in that empty spot. Your checklist will always help you keep your cabinet organized and in the same order each time you finish maintaining your first aid cabinet.

How To Restock Your First Aid Kit

1. How do I determine what first aid supplies I need for my kit?

This is usually the most difficult part for most people but in fact is pretty easy. We can figure this out by taking a minute understanding the purpose of your kit, what potential injuries can occur and the OSHA requirements for your workplace (if applicable).

Purpose and Use of your First Aid Kit The purpose of any first aid kit is to treat minor cuts, scrapes, burns and other types of injuries. In the workplace, it is not only meant to help the employee, but also to keep them productive on the job. The kit is not to be a first responder/EMT bag. It is for basic first aid that employees can access. All of the supplies maintained in the first aid cabinet are common supplies that everyone is familiar how to use.

Identifying Potential Injuries Carefully look at the past injuries you have treated. This will help determine they types of first aid supplies you will want to have available for use.

  • Do you have cuts and scrapes? If yes then include a variety of bandages and gauze.

  • Are you experiencing dust and particles in eyes? If yes, consider including eyewash in your kit.

  • Look at the environment you are in.. are you stocking a first aid kit for a sheet metal cutting operation? If so, MORE bandages, gauze and blood pressure bandages should be included than normal.

  • If there is welding or any type of heat then additional burn gel should be stocked.

  • Flying particles, dust or chemicals would require you to keep more eye wash type products.

  • Woodcutting would demand splinter tools and bandages.

  • If this is for a home, simply consider how many bandages, gauze and burns you have treated in the past year or two.

  • Plan for any potential injury by having supplies ready. So, if you have never had someone severely cut, that does not mean you don't need a pressure bandage.

  • Always keep basic first aid supplies on hand for any potential injury.

OSHA / ANSI Requirements If the first aid kit is for a workplace, OSHA has requirements for first aid supplies at work. Generally speaking, if your business is in near proximity to a medical facility (10 minutes) you might not be required to have a first aid kit. BUT, it is common sense for every workplace to be prepared and have a basic first aid kit at a minimum, a first aid kit that will help treat minor cuts, crapes or burns. Why pay money to send your employee off property to a clinic for a bandage? OSHA expects that workplace first aid kits are to maintain or exceed the ANSI standard. Most likely, your idea of a basic first aid kit will contain much more than the ANSI minimum requirements.

If you keep a record of your injuries, this can be very helpful in understanding the types of common injuries that occur. Under OSHA's new record keeping regulations, record keeping is not required for minor injuries or use of the first aid cabinet unless it causes time off work or the injury is treated off site at a medical facility.

The required contents for the most recent ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2005 standards are listed below: Effective Date: June 2016

  • Class A kits are designed to deal with most common workplace injuries, such as minor cuts, abrasions and sprains.

  • Class B kits include a broader range and quantity of supplies to deal with injuries in more complex or high-risk environments.

Required Minimum Fill for Class A First Aid Kits ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015:

(16) Adhesive Bandages, 1" x 3"

(1) Adhesive Tape 2.5 yd

(10) Antibiotic Treatment Application, 1/57 oz

(10) Antiseptic Applications 1/57 oz

(1) Breathing Barrier

(1) Burn Dressing, gel soaked, 4" x 4"

(10) Burn Treatment, 1/32 oz

(1) Cold Pack

(2) Eye Covering

(1) Eye Wash, 1 oz.

(1) First Aid Guide

(6) Hand Sanitizer, 0.9g

(2) Pair Exam Gloves

(1) Roller Bandage, 2" x 4 yds

(1) Scissors

(2) Sterile Pad, 3" x 3"

(2) Trauma Pad, 5" x 9"

(1) Triangular Bandage, 40" x 40" x 56"


Required Minimum Fill for Class B First Aid Kits ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015:

(50) Adhesive Bandages, 1" x 3"

(2) Adhesive Tape 2.5 yd

(25) Antibiotic Treatment Application, 1/57 oz

(50) Antiseptic Applications 1/57 oz

(1) Breathing Barrier

(2) Burn Dressing, gel soaked, 4" x 4"

(25) Burn Treatment, 1/32 oz

(2) Cold Pack

(2) Eye Covering

(1) Eye Wash, 4 oz.

(1) First Aid Guide

(10) Hand Sanitizer, 0.9g

(4) Pair Exam Gloves

(2) Roller Bandage, 2" x 4 yds

(1) Roller Bandage, 4" x 4 yds

(1) Scissors

(1) Splint - min 4" x 24"

(4) Sterile Pad, 3" x 3"

(1) Tourniquet

(4) Trauma Pad, 5" x 9"

(2) Triangular Bandage, 40" x 40" x 56"

2. Create a Checklist

Based on step 1, you should create and keep a first aid checklist.

3. Restock & Refill

Once you have a checklist, go to your cabinet, compare your list to what you currently have in your kit. By this time the only thing in your cabinet should be good usable inventory. Anything old, partially used, expired etc... should be thrown away.

Order Supplies Based on Usage It is important you remember to plan for usage between now and the next time you inspect your kit. If you go through a lot of bandage strips, be sure to order enough to last you until the next time you order. Also, if you have 1/2 a box or less left, consider ordering another box. When you stock your kit you will combine the two boxes together. Most boxes of bandages, ointments and medicines are designed to have extra space to combine a new box with some left over product. We will talk about mixing expiration dates in a moment. Complete your checklist and order your items.

Organize Your Cabinet After you have placed your order and it arrives, it is time to restock your cabinet. Use the graphical checklist if you forget where things belong. Also remember to group your products by type and keep it consistent. This is the time to place the items where they belong, every time you replenish. If you are combining a new box with a partially empty one, inspect the expiration dates (if applicable) and be sure to place the older stock in front where it will get used first. For medicines, place then close to the drawer flap where people reach for them first.

Now that your first aid cabinet is setup, the key is to maintain it. We have an automated reminder system that will email you when it is time to check your first aid supplies.

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