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What Are the 10 Main Items in a First Aid Kit and What Are Their Uses?

A first aid kit is a must-have item for your workplace or company vehicle. Accidents can happen at any time, and first aid is crucial to either treat or handle the injury as emergency services are contacted.

First aid kits can be purchased already stocked or can be stocked using individual items, as long as they follow safety regulations.

A first aid kit for a workplace must follow the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Your workplace must provide protective gear, adequate first aid kits and well-trained first aid officers per 50 employees.

When choosing workplace first aid kits, keep some of these parameters in mind:

  • How big is the workplace?
  • What is the layout?
  • How many staff are in-house or on the road?
  • What hazards are present like chemicals, heavy machinery, sharp objects, etc?
  • Is the workplace located in a remote place?
  • How far is the nearest emergency room?

Why Is First Aid Important?

Have you ever heard these reasons why people dismiss first aid?

  • I just don’t have the time.
  • Where do I even begin?
  • Accidents will never happen to me or my loved ones.
  • I think I can handle it when I need to.

However, basic knowledge of first aid, especially in the workplace, is important.

Helps to save lives: A trained first aid officer is important, as they are well-trained. They are trained to stay in control of the situation and will be able to save lives when an emergency arises. They will be able to handle a situation at the scene of the accident until the paramedics arrive.

Offer comfort to the injured: Having someone trained in first aid on the scene can help offer relief to the injured. They are able to assess the situation and help the patient while assuring them until emergency personnel arrive.

Help to prevent the situation from becoming worse: In some situations like cardiac arrests, eye injuries or any other type of accident, the first minutes are most crucial. If a patient is not tended to immediately, the situation can rapidly worsen.

With basic first aid training, you can stabilise a patient until emergency medical services are on the scene. You are able to collect crucial data to give to the paramedics to help care for the patient.

Boost confidence in first aid skills and abilities: First aid training helps you handle critical situations, calm the situation and finally help your patient. This will then boost your confidence in a wide range of daily situations.

Encourages healthy and safe living: A trained person is able to keep tabs on their surroundings. Basic first aid knowledge gives you and those around you a sense of well-being. That knowledge and desire to be safe reduces the number of accidents around you.

When choosing first aid kits, there is no brand superior to the other. It is the contents of your kit that is most important. The kit must fit its purpose. For example, a workplace first aid kit can have an AED or defibrillator while a travel kit will have compact items perfect for the road. There are some main items in any kit each with its purpose.

First Aid Manual

A first aid manual is an absolute must for any kit. The main reason is that it may not always be a trained first aid officer who will have access to it. Thus, anyone who uses it should be able to follow the instructions or use the emergency contacts in the provided manual.

While the manual is important, it is advised that regular training and refresher training on first aid is done. Regulations state that having a first aid officer in the workplace (one for every 50 employees) is a requirement.

Pain Relievers

Every first aid kit should have various approved painkillers or Paracetamol. You will experience people in emergency situations that may be allergic to some medication. It is important to select both aspirin-based and non-aspirin based painkillers for workplace first aid kits.

When choosing the best pain relievers for the kit, a pharmacist or the in-house first aid officer will advise what should be included. Prescription drugs should not be in the kit. Instead, it should contain acceptable over-the-counter options.

Portable Eyewash Station

First Aid Eyewash Station 

Alsco’s high-quality Eyewash Station


There are many workplaces where eye injuries are a possibility. Chemicals or foreign objects may enter your eyes.

First aid officers advise that you clean out the eye using an eyewash station in a matter of seconds.

A portable eyewash station in your kits is essential for handling eye injuries. They must be regularly maintained or replaced for the next patient.

Companies using hazardous chemicals have eyewash stations installed for a more effective cleanse.

Instant Cold Pack

Falling objects, slips and other workplace-related injuries can result in swelling. To prevent swelling, place an instant cold pack on the affected area. This can keep the patient comfortable as other first aid procedures are conducted.

Instant cold packs are preferred because they do not need refrigeration before use. Go for the options that are activated immediately when the seal is broken. In the workplace, you should have as many ice packs as possible to cater for your staff.

Alcohol Swabs

Alcohol swabs are a necessity in any first aid kit. They are used to clean a wounded area before bandaging to minimise infections. Alcohol swabs can be used alongside anaesthetic swabs and are perfect for sterilising tweezers or scissors.

Tweezers and Scissors

Tweezers are crucial for any first aid kit. They are mostly used to remove foreign objects like glass, dirt, or splinters from a wound. They are perfect for taking care of stingers left in the skin by bees and wasps, which means those working in the field must have a pair in their kit.

Having a pair of scissors in your first aid kit is also advised. These can cut away clothes to access an injury. It can also be used to cut bandages or gauze before use. You must make sure they are rust-free and are cleaned with an antiseptic solution before each use.


Adhesive bandages in many sizes are crucial in any first aid kit. When using a managed rental service, they usually place various bandage sizes in the kits to cater for varying emergencies.

Companies can also buy assorted bandages to complement those in the first aid kit. Make sure they are constantly checked during maintenance and replaced as necessary.

Gauze Pads

These are used for wounds that are too large for adhesive bandages. They can be used to cover a burn area to prevent infection. It also helps to control the flow of blood if an employee or a visitor is injured. Like bandages, gauze pads are available in many sizes and an assortment is ideal for first aid kits.

Elastic Bandages

Elastic bandages will help to keep a sprained joint from moving and also reduce swelling. They are available either with a hook-and-loop or metal fasteners. They are perfect for use around ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows, before visiting the emergency room. They vary in width from one to six inches.

Defibrillator or AED

Portable Defibrillator Step 3

An AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is a portable machine that analyses heart activity and administers shocks to the heart.

It is used to save a cardiac arrest patient.

This form of first aid is done alongside CPR and is not effective on a heart attack patient.

An AED is important in a workplace first aid kit because more than 2,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are reported annually in New Zealand (between 2018 and 2019).

Fatalities are reported when the patients do not get help within five minutes of the incident.

Why Choose Alsco Managed Rental First Aid Kits?

If your workplace values the health and safety of its employees and visitors, a managed first aid kit is a great option. The assurance of safety offered by Alsco NZ’s rented first aid kits is next to none.

  • Regularly restocked with hospital-grade first aid supplies free of charge.
  • Out kits are matched with your business needs and stocked with the supplies you’d most likely need.
  • All these services are available for a single, all-inclusive annual fee.

Contact Alsco NZ for a free quote and to find out more about the best first aid kits for your business.

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