How Does the New First Aid Code of Practice Affect You?

As we mentioned last week a new first aid code of practice has been released and is in effect for most Australian workplaces. It has introduced many changes that impact first aiders in the workplace.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at many of these changes and the steps you need to take to ensure that you and your workplace are doing everything you can to meet your WHS requirements.

Need some help now?  Check out our Code of Practice compliance service. Call us on 1300 1130 385 for more info.

Got a kit that was compliant under the old Code of Practice and just want to upgrade it? We have prepared an Upgrade Module the will add the items you need. You can buy the upgrade kit online or you can call us on 1300 130 185 and order over the phone.

First Aid kits for the workplace

Section 3.1 of the code looks at first aid kits. In part it says:

All workers must be able to access a first aid kit. This will require at least one first aid kit to be provided at their workplace.


The first aid kit should provide basic equipment for administering first aid for injuries including:

  • cuts, scratches, punctures, grazes and splinters
  • muscular sprains and strains
  • minor burns
  • amputations and/or major bleeding wounds
  • broken bones
  • eye injuries
  • shock.

The contents of first aid kits should be based on a risk assessment.

NSW First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice – July 2012

In addition to stating the risk assessment based approach, the new code has abolished old “A”, “B”, “C” kits, in New South Wales . Instead of picking a level of kit for your workplace, you now need to consider some key factors including:

  • The general nature of the workplace – Is the work or environment considered low risk? Or high risk?
  • A Site assessment – What unique or specific health or safety risks does the workplace present?

From the answers to these questions you can clearly define the injuries that you need to deal with and plan what you need in your first aid kits to treat and manage those injuries.

Comparing the new code of practice kits to the old “A”, “B” AND “C” kits there are some differences. Even if your kit was compliant in the past, it is now mandatory to have the kit contents from the new code of practice.


As well as the contents of the kit, the code also looks at how the kit should be maintained. In section 3.1 it also says:

A person in the workplace should be nominated to maintain the first aid kit (usually a first aider) and should:

  • monitor access to the first aid kit and ensure any items used are replaced as soon as practicable after use
  • undertake regular checks (after each use or, if the kit is not used, at least once every 12 months) to ensure the kit contains a complete set of the required items (an inventory list in the kit should be signed and dated after each check)
  • ensure that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and are within their expiry dates and that sterile products are sealed and have not been tampered with

NSW First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice – July 2012

This section highlights the need to have an on-site first aider regularly looking maintaining the kit. In practice for most businesses this will mean:

  • The kit MUST be checked periodically, signed and dated accordingly
  • The kit MUST be managed by a trained first aider and cannot be delegated
  • Each kit MUST have a contents list attached to the kit
  • First aid rooms MUST be managed by a person with qualification “Occupational first aid”


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