First Aid Kits
Well Stocked First Aid Kits
Cuts, scrapes, and minor burns tend to crop up in the agricultural workplace. Proper care of minor injuries can prevent serious problems that may develop due to contamination and infection.
While First Aid Kits may not be directly required under OSH Act standards for some agricultural operations, most will fall either under the General Duty MiOSHA requirements or the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. The MiOSHA regulation states that "adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available" in the workplace. The standard leaves it to the employer to determine what to include in a kit.
Standard kits are normally rated for the number of persons the kit could normally serve and range from five to twenty-five. A basic kit will give the employer supplies used to cover a broad range of first aid issues.
Where To Put First Aid Kits
Operations providing housing for migrant workers and covered by the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act are required to have a first aid kit in each camp. The state camp licensing provisions do not require kits to be in the camps. This provision is enforced by the US Department of Labor through random camp inspection or by complaint.
Service trucks, supervisor/manager vehicles, worker transportation vehicles and other farm trucks are excellent locations for first aid kits. While standards do not require them to be located in these vehicles, they will provide a reasonably mobile source of supplies near where work is being done.
Another mobile location is in the cabs of tractors, combines, and other harvest equipment. Minor injuries can often be cleaned and treated in remote field locations and allow work to continue. Wrapping those minor cuts or abrasions with an oily rag simply should not be done.
Fixed locations, such as workshops, offices and packing areas, should be equipped with first aid kits.
Once you have the first aid kits distributed around the farm, they need to be regularly checked for supplies. While the locations of the kits should be readily accessible to workers, some care should be exercised to assure the supplies are being used as intended and not simply walking off.
Employers should encourage employees to use the supplies for workplace related injuries. At the same time, employers should determine if there are opportunities to minimize the circumstances that cause the injury in the first place. Monitoring the types of supplies used can suggest where personal protective equipment may be needed, where equipment modifications could reduce injuries, and where employee training may be needed to change work practices.