California Employers May Benefit From Confirming that Their First-Aid Kits Comply with CAL/OSHA Standard

03/22/2018

California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has recently increased enforcement of violations of a General Industry Safety Order requiring that employers’ first-aid materials be approved by a consulting physician.

The California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3400 (c) states, in relevant part:

There shall be adequate first-aid materials, approved by the consulting physician, readily available for employees on every job.

While most employers in California may have first-aid kits in place, many may not have kits that are specifically approved by a consulting physician. Lack of approval by a consulting physician makes a first-aid kit non-compliant with the standard subjecting the employer to potential citations for violating the standard. Cal/OSHA’s position is that the hazard associated with lack of approval by a consulting physician is that personal medications or unauthorized drugs might be placed inside a first-aid kit.

Although there is some push in the legislature towards changing the standard to remove the requirement for approval by a consulting physician, until the change actually happens, California employers should be aware of this trend in increased citations for non-complying first-aid kits and ensure that workplace kits are in compliance with the standard. A likely easy and simple way to become complaint could be providing for review and approval to the employer’s consulting physician a written list of contents of the first-aid kit and documenting the physician’s approval.1


1  A generic first aid kit (see ANSI Z308.1-1998) may be sufficient to secure a physician’s approval, but where special hazards exist at the workplace, additional measures may be required for physician approval. See In the Matter of Appeal of Cybernet Entertainment, 2015 WL 10058906 (Ca.O.S.H.A A.L.J.) (April 10, 2015).

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