What should a first-aid box in the workplace contain?

There is no mandatory list of contents for first-aid boxes and HSE does not ‘approve’ or endorse particular products. Deciding what to include should be based on an employer’s assessment of first-aid needs.As a guide, where work activities involve low hazards, a minimum stock of first-aid items might be:


a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid, eg HSE’s leaflet: Basic advice on first aid at work[4];
20 individually wrapped sterile plasters (assorted sizes), appropriate to the type of work (you can provide hypoallergenic plasters, if necessary);
two sterile eye pads;
four individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile;
six safety pins;
two large, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings;
six medium-sized, individually wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings;
a pair of disposable gloves, see HSE’s free leaflet: [
This is only a suggested contents list.

It is recommended that you don’t keep tablets and medicines in the first-aid box.

How often should the contents of first-aid boxes be replaced?

Although there is no specified review timetable, many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. They should be replaced by the dates given and expired items disposed of safely. In cases where sterile items have no dates, it would be advisable to check with the manufacturers to find out how long they can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, it is a matter of judgement, based on whether they are fit for purpose.