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Supplies, equipment & facilities

Employers are responsible for ensuring the workplace has the required first aid equipment, supplies, facilities, and people to treat workers if they are injured on the job.

New first aid requirements come into effect November 1, 2024

Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation relating to occupational first aid will take effect November 1, 2024. These include changes to the minimum requirements for first aid supplies, equipment, and facilities. Employers should use these revised contents as new kits are purchased or supplies are replaced. For more information, see:

Schedule 3-A outlines the minimum levels of first aid required for different workplaces. A first aid risk assessment will help you identify which level is appropriate for your workplace.

While you will need to conduct a thorough risk assessment to determine your workplace's specific first aid requirements, below are some general recommendations on first aid kits, first aid facilities, and emergency transport.

First aid kits

WorkSafeBC recognizes five levels of first aid kits:

  • Personal first aid kit
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Level 1 first aid kit
  • Level 2 first aid kit
  • Level 3 first aid kit

The OHS Guidelines list the recommended minimum contents for each level of kit.

Once you've completed a first aid risk assessment of your workplace, you can refer to Schedule 3-A to determine which level of first aid kit you will need. You can purchase a complete pre-packaged kit, or buy the contents from a safety supply store or first aid training provider. You can also put together your own kit, following OHS Guidelines recommendations.

Remember: for all levels, items must be kept clean, dry, and accessible. It's also recommended that you assign an individual to check the kits regularly, restocking items as needed.

First aid facilities

Depending on your first aid assessment, your workplace may require an on-site first aid facility. If so, here are some general recommendations:

  • The facility must be kept clean, dry, and accessible at any time workers may require first aid.
  • It should be located as close to the work area as possible.
  • A stretcher should be able to easily enter and exit the facility.
  • The facility should have proper lighting, heat, and ventilation.
  • It should have a sink with hot and cold running water, or a source of fresh, clean, drinkable water readily available.
  • The facility should feature a notice, on the door outside the room or area, with clear information on how to call and where to find the first aid attendant.

The OHS Guidelines provide more detailed recommendations on first aid facilities — including specific recommendations about dressing stations, oxygen-powered resuscitators, and medications.

Emergency vehicles and equipment

Your first aid assessment will help you determine whether or not an emergency vehicle needs to be available, on-site, at your workplace.

Here are some general guidelines for emergency vehicles at the workplace:

  • An emergency vehicle must be maintained and operated according to the general requirements in the OHS Regulation.
  • The vehicle must be capable of being dispatched to the incident scene within five minutes.
  • The first aid attendant should not be operating the vehicle, as that could reduce his or her ability to treat an injured worker.
  • The vehicle should be suitable for the terrain and area, and be able to provide proper warmth and protection from the natural elements.
  • The vehicle should be equipped with effective communications between the vehicle operator and first aid attendant, and the vehicle operator and the hospital.

As an employer, you are responsible for any costs associated with transporting injured workers to the nearest hospital or medical facility.

Air transport

Sometimes air transport is the best or only means of getting an injured worker to a full medical facility and treatment. If this is the case for your workplace, here are some recommendations to follow:

  • Before work starts, make arrangements with an air service to ensure an appropriate aircraft is available during work operations.
  • Make sure the aircraft is capable of transporting a patient lying on a stretcher as well as a first aid attendant.
  • In your written workplace first aid procedures, be sure to include a list of radio frequencies used between the air carrier and the workplace. Be sure to also include your workplace coordinates.
  • First aid equipment should be appropriate for the aircraft being used. For example, the stretcher or spine board must fit the plane.
  • Always ensure that alternative transportation options are available should weather or other factors delay the aircraft.

In an emergency situation, your first aid attendant should have proper training to decide whether air or surface transportation is the best option. The OHS Guidelines provide more detailed recommendations for emergency vehicles and equipment, including specific recommendations for Emergency Transport Vehicles (ETVs), industrial ambulances, and Mobile Treatment Centres (MTCs).