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First-aid rooms are not required in all business but employers should provide a suitable first-aid room or rooms where the assessment of first-aid needs identifies this as necessary.

The HSE have comprehensive guidance where first-aid rooms are needed and they state that the room should contain essential first-aid facilities and equipment which is easily accessible to stretchers. The room should be clearly signposted and if possible, the room should be reserved exclusively for giving first aid.
A first-aid room will usually be necessary where there are higher hazards such as in the chemical industries or on large construction sites. A designated person should be given responsibility for supervising the room and ensuring that is is fit for purpose and ready.

The HSE state that first-aid rooms should: 

  • Be large enough to hold an examination couch, with enough space at each side for people to work, a chair and any necessary additional equipment
  • Have washable surfaces and adequate heating, ventilation and lighting
  • Be kept clean, tidy, accessible and available for use at all times when employees are at work
  • Be positioned as near as possible to a point of access for transport to hospital
  • Display a notice on the door advising of the names, locations and, if appropriate, telephone extensions of first-aiders and how to contact them. The risk assessment will decide what equipment is necessary in the first aid room.
  • Sink with hot and cold running water
  • Drinking water with disposable cups
  • Soap and paper towels
  • A store for first-aid materials
  • Foot-operated refuse containers, lined with disposable, yellow clinical waste bags or a container suitable for the safe disposal of clinical waste
  • An examination/medical couch with waterproof protection and clean pillows and blankets. A paper couch roll may be used that is changed between casualties
  • A chair
  • A telephone or other communication equipment
  • Record book for recording incidents attended by a first-aider or appointed person.

In some cases it may not be possible to have a dedicated first aid room. If the first-aid room cannot be reserved exclusively for giving first aid, employers need to make sure that the first-aid facilities can be made available quickly if necessary. There will need to be some planning so that the room can be cleared in an emergency and prepared as a first aid room.