New BS-8599 British Standard for Workplace First Aid kits

New BS-8599 British Standard for Workplace First Aid kits


The New BS-8599 standard for workplace first aid kits has been effective since 30th of June.  This standard replaces the BHTA-HSE kits universally used in the UK, and are based on HSE guidelines.  The old standard, first published in 1997, will be withdrawn from 31st December 2011.


Despite many EU states having a national standard for workplace first aid kits, until now, the UK did not.  The BHTA guidelines were in need of revision because training protocols have changed, there are heightened concerns with infection control, and new technology is now available at affordable prices.

There were only one pair of gloves in a 10 person kit – yet 33 dressings.

There were 4 triangular bandages – even though the training protocols no longer indicate their use for immobilisation of lower limb fractures.

Burns gel dressings are extensively used in first aid – now very available and affordable.

The new kits have good quantities of plasters and wipes, a common criticism of the old ones.


The law


The Health and Safety (First Aid) regulations 1981 states:-

“An employer shall provide or ensure that there are provided such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work”

…The new BSi first aid kits are now the only safe and clear way for an employer to meet their obligations…


The HSE position

The Health and Safety Executive have been closely involved in the creation of this standard, being members of the BSi standards committee.  The current guidelines contained in document L74 from the HSE are met and exceeded by the new BSi standard.



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