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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Thou shalt not steal from the first aid kit at the workplace

Maralyn Kastel - Monday, July 25, 2011

Even with workplace policies on theft and video surveillance, workplace theft still occurs. It can range from stationery supplies to toilet paper and often contents of the first aid kits. Items often taken are sunscreen, bandages and band aids and, where first aid kits contain them, aspirin or similar.

You have already assessed the type of first aid kits you need, where you are going to put them and how many you require.  Now when you check the first aid kit(s), you realise you are missing items that haven’t been used in a workplace accident or have exceeded normal use eg sunscreen.

As part of your workplace health and safety consultation processes make sure you have measures in place so that the contents of first aid kits are not misused or subject to theft.

We cannot lock first aid kits up during working hours. What we can do is put in place practical measures that discourage people from opening first aid kits unless it’s necessary for use in an accident.

Below are some ideas that may help reduce the theft from your workplace first aid kits:

  1. As part of your worker induction, make sure you discuss your first aid policy.  Make sure your workers sign and understand your induction processes.

  2. Explain to workers that it is important to report any use of the first aid kit contents so that we can make sure we identify accidents and injuries and can put in place risk controls to reduce the risks of it happening again.

  3. Additionally, advise workers that it is an offence to abuse first aid facilities and this includes stealing from them.

  4. Do you really have a theft issue? Or are people getting hurt, using the contents of the first aid kit and just not reporting it?

  5. Think about the location of your first aid kit. Is it in an obvious spot where if someone was to steal from it others would see, or is it tucked away in the back of the rest room or kitchen and out of sight?

  6. Who is refilling your first aid kit and how often?  Who has the responsibility to manage the contents of the first aid kits?  Is it identified in your health and safety roles and responsibilities and included in job descriptions?

  7. Do you need to install tamper tags such as seal ties on fire extinguishers? These can be installed and broken easily to gain access to the first aid kit. You can also easily see if the kit has been accessed.

When considering how to provide first aid, you must consider all relevant matters including: 

  • The nature of the work being carried out at the workplace

  • The nature of the hazards at the workplace

  • The size, location and nature of the workplace

  • The number and composition of the workers at the workplace. 

Just something to think about!

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