Vehicle first aid kits

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Vehicle first aid kits
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Yes really! I’m actually getting round to writing a new blog post. I’m fairly sure that at the beginning of the year I limited myself to just two new years resolutions; going for a run once every week and writing a regular blog post.

Well I’ve failed at both of these so far! No more!!

So here I am wondering what to write about for this blog post (I’ve already started writing another blog post about concussion after some friends of mine had a head-on car crash and started to show signs of having it). They say that posts should be interesting and beneficial to the reader & I completely agree with that.

Having just finished a week of working across the country teaching first aid to school staff, auto-electricians, sports coaches and more I’ve another full week ahead where I’m working every day, but 3 of the days are CPD training, so I’m not sure you could call that work?

Monday: First aid for a private client in West Yorkshire.
Tuesday: CPD.
Wednesday: First aid for a private client in Cheshire.
Thursday: CPD in Milton Keynes.
Friday: CPD in West Yorkshire.
Saturday: Day off??
Sunday: First aid for a private client in Gloucestershire.

So as you can see, I’m spending quite a lot of time on the nations motorways which got me thinking about first aid kits for vehicles. What guidance or legislation is there for vehicles and their operators or owners?

My friends car after a head on collision.
My friends car after a head on collision.

Remember my friend who had the car crash I mentioned earlier? A week after the crash he was asking me what he should have in his car in terms of first aid provision. Well the simple answer to that is a first aid kit, but this was followed up with a comment about knowing how to use what you had in the kit and having things in your kit that you know how to use.

In terms of guidance we have the Health & Safety at Work Act (as amended). The HSE’s website tells us that:

If you are self employed you are required to ensure you have such equipment, as may be adequate and appropriate in the circumstances, to provide first aid to yourself while at work.

You should make an assessment of the hazards and risks in your workplace and establish an appropriate level of first-aid provision. If you carry out activities involving low hazards (eg clerical work) in your own home, you would not be expected to provide first-aid equipment beyond your normal domestic needs. If your work involves driving long distances or you are continuously on the road, the assessment may identify the need to keep a personal first-aid kit in your vehicle.

Now let’s add some more legislation into the mix for company drivers.

In June 2011 British Standard BS 8599 came into effect (since amended) which superseded the British Healthcare Trades Association Standard which was originally published in 1997. This new standard has a section (Part 2) which relates to the contents of first aid kits for motor vehicles. It identifies three different sizes of motor vehicle first aid kit, determined by the size of the vehicle, category of the hazard, and the passenger numbers.

Small: For moped, motorcycle, motor tricycle, and quadricycle (maximum 3 passengers).
Medium: For car, taxi, van, and truck (maximum 8 passengers).
Large: For minibus, bus and coach (maximum 16 passengers, larger passenger vehicles will require multiple kits to suit).

There’s also additional legislation for those who drive taxis and buses.

So do you need to follow this in the UK for your own non-business use car?

No you don’t, which is a shame really as having a first aid kit with you when you’ve driven your family to the park, or wherever, could prove to be really handy. If nothing else there are some handy wipes in there for grubby fingers.

So if you were to have a BS 8599-2:2004 compliant first aid kit in your own car you should have the following items stored in a clearly marked container which displays the standard first aid sign (see page 18 of the HSE’s Guidance Note L64), namely:

1 Guidance Leaflet
2 Gloves (Pair)
10 Cleansing Wipes
10 Washproof Plasters
1 Foil Blanket (Adult)
1 Resuscitation Device
1 Pair of Universal Shears
1 Adherent Dressing
2 Burn Dressings
1 HSE Dressing, size medium
1 Trauma Dressing, size medium
1 Triangular Bandage

So there you have it; that’s what the guidance says your should have. But don’t forget, it would be handy if you knew exactly how to use all of those items correctly.

Drive safely folks!

Chris

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