Office employees working; Warehouse employees discussing safety; Woman placing first aid kit on shelf

Workplaces have changed in a number of ways in the past decades, but the recommendations for first aid kits as outlined by the Health & Safety Executive have remained the same since 1981. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) offers guidance on what items should go into a first aid kit, but they don’t mention what quantities of each item should be stocked.

With no updates since the 1980s, it became clear that a new standard for workplace first aid kits needed to be implemented. The British Standard (BS8599-1 standard for workplace first aid kits) are revised and improved recommendations for modern risks and hazards. British Standard First Aid Kits make it easier for workplaces to ensure they have a first aid kit that meets the needs outlined by their risk assessments.

What is the HSE?

Office employees working with a first aid kit mounted on the wall

The HSE or Health and Safety Executive is the UK’s national regulator of health and safety in the workplace. They collect data and make recommendations for safe workplace practices to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health.

HSE First Aid Kits are the minimum standard required by law.

What is BS8599-1

The BS8599-1 is the British Standard for workplace first aid kits, last updated in 2019. Employers are required to carry out a risk assessment to determine their hazard levels and how many employees need to be covered. This risk assessment dictates what size British Standard kit the business needs.

Category of hazard chart showing British Standard first aid kit sizes

Are British Standards mandatory?

The HSE first aid kit standard is the legal requirement for first aid kit contents. The British Standard, while not required by law, expands upon kit contents, making sure your workplace is as safe as it can be.

What are the HSE recommendations for a first aid kit?

These are the minimum requirements for a first aid kit as outlined by the HSE:
  • A leaflet including guidance on how to perform first aid
  • Individually wrapped sterile plasters of different sizes
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Individually wrapped triangular bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Individually wrapped medium and large sterile wound dressings
  • Disposable gloves
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About the author:

Jo Stokes is a writer, marketer and trained first aider at First Aid Online.
Find out more about Jo.