Requirements for First Aid in the Workplace

Understanding the Legislation

Download the Legislation Triangle to understand more about first aid legislation.

What is required in providing first aid?

First aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, the type of hazards, the workplace size and location, as well as the number of people at the workplace. These factors must be taken into account when deciding what first aid arrangements need to be provided.

This Code provides information on using a risk management approach to tailor first aid that suits the circumstances of your workplace, while also providing guidance on the number of first aid kits, their contents and the number of trained first aiders that are appropriate for some types of workplaces.

The risk management approach involves the following four steps:

  • Identify potential causes of workplace injury and illness
  • Assess the risk of workplace injury and illness
  • What first aid is required (staff, equipment, procedure, facilities)
  • Review the effectiveness of the first aid management program

Size, Quantity & Location of First Aid Kits

In relation to the size and location of the workplace, you should take into account:

  • Distance between different work areas
  • Response times for emergency services

First aid equipment and facilities should be located at convenient points and in areas where there is a higher risk of an injury or illness occurring. A larger workplace may require first aid to be available in more than one location in situations such as:

  • Work carried out a long distance from emergency services
  • Small number of workers are dispersed over a wide area
  • Access to a part of the workplace is difficult
  • The workplace has more than one floor level or multiple buildings, etc.

First aid kits should be kept in prominent, accessible locations and able to be retrieved promptly. First aid kits should be located close to areas of higher risk. A portable first aid kit should be provided in the vehicles of mobile workers if that is their workplace (i.e. couriers, taxis, sales reps, off site workers, company vehicles). These kits should be safely located so as not to become a projectile in the event of an accident.

In determining the quantity, contents, and location of workplace first aid kits consideration must also be given to the number and composition of workers and other people. The number of people first aid may be required for includes workers, contractors, subcontractors, patrons, volunteers, and any other person entering the work premises. For the purpose of deciding who requires access to first aid, you should consider the maximum number of workers or others that may be within the workplace at any one time.

First Aid Facilities and Rooms

Facilities for the administration of first aid should be based upon a risk assessment to determine an appropriate area to provide patient care. However, addition facilities may be required for certain types of workplaces with the risk of serious injury or a large workforce.

A dedicated first aid room is recommended for:

  • Low risk workplaces with 200 worker or more
  • High risk workplaces with 100 workers or more

In addition to first aid supplies, the following items should be provided in the first aid room:

  • First aid kit appropriate for the workplace · Container for sharps disposal
  • Hand cleanser and paper towels · Bowl or buckets (2L capacity min)
  • Examination lounge (waterproof surface/disposable sheets · Electric power points
  • Examination lamp with magnifier · Chair/table or desk
  • Cupboard for storage · Telephone or emergency call system
  • Container with disposable lining for soiled waste · Contact details for first aiders onsite

The first aid room should also:

  • Be located within easy access to a sink with hot/cold water and toilet facilities
  • Be easily accessible to emergency services (min door width 1 metre for stretcher access)
  • Be well lit & ventilated with appropriate floor area (min 14 square metres)
  • Have an entrance that is clearly marked with a first aid sign and offer privacy via screening or a door

Automatic Defibrillators

Providing an automatic defibrillator can reduce the risk of fatality from cardiac arrest and is a useful addition for any workplace, particularly where there is a risk of electric shock or large numbers of people. They should be located in an area that is clearly visible, accessible, and not exposed to extreme temperatures. They should be clearly signed and maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications.

Eye Wash and Shower Equipment

Eye wash equipment should be provided where there is a risk of:

  • Hazardous chemicals or infectious substances causing eye injuries.

Emergency shower equipment should be provided where there is a risk of:

  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals or infectious substances resulting in skin absorption
  • Serious burns to a large area of the face or body (including chemical and electrical burns, burns that are deep, in sensitive areas, or greater than a 20 cent piece)

First Aid Assessment Templates

Contents for a First Aid Kit

This example serves as a guide. This does not represent an exhaustive list of the required first aid contents suitable to meet the need of a specific workplace. Additional items and higher volume quantity of items may be required based upon a risk assessment approach for the given workplace.

  • First aid kits can be any size, shape or type to suit the workplace, but each kit should:
  • Be large enough to contain all the necessary items
  • Be immediately identifiable with a white cross on green background that is prominently displayed
  • Contain a list of all the contents for that kit
  • Be made of material that will protect the contents from dust, moisture, and contamination


Medication, including analgesics such as paracetamol and aspirin, should not be included in first aid kits because of their potential to cause health effects in some people including asthmatics, pregnant women and people with medical conditions. The supply of these medications may also be controlled by drugs and poisons laws. Workers requiring prescription or over the counter medications should carry their own medication for their personal use as necessary.

Additional Items

Some types of workplaces may require additional items to treat specific types of injuries and illnesses. These should be assessed in the risk assessment process in include items such as:

Outdoor work

If work is performed outside and there is a risk of insect/plant stings or snake bites the following items should be considered for inclusion in the first aid kit:

  • Heavy duty crepe bandages
  • Sting relief cream, gel or spray

Remote work

Where people work in remote locations, a first aid kit should include:

  • Heavy duty crepe bandages
  • Large clean sheeting (ie. cling wrap for covering burns)
  • Thermal blanket
  • Whistle for attracting attention
  • Torch/flashlight

Burn injuries

Where workers are at risk of receiving burns, a first aid kit should include:

  • Burns treatment instructions on waterproof cards
  • Hydro gel (8x 3.5g sachets)
  • Hydro gel dressing
  • Large clean sheeting (ie. cling wrap for covering burns)
  • 5cm cotton conforming bandages

Additional items for treatment of specific injuries and illnesses are based upon a risk assessment approach. Further information regarding how your workplace can meet its first aid needs is available from your first aid consultant.

Review of First Aid Requirements

You should regularly review the first ad needs of the workplace in consultation with workers and your first aid consultant to analyse the effectiveness of the current program and any potential improvements.