Medical Services and First Aid

First aid is defined as medical attention that is usually administered immediately after the occurrence of an injury and at the location where it occurred. It often consists of a one-time, short-term treatment and requires little technology or training to administer.

Employers are required to ensure that employees trained in first aid are available whenever the work location is not in near proximity to a hospital, physician office, acute care clinic or other facility for providing prompt medical treatment. "Near proximity" has been interpreted to mean within 3-4 minutes total travel time if the workplace and working conditions pose a reasonable risk of exposure to life-threatening hazards. In other settings (e.g., office settings), near proximity can mean within 15 minutes total travel time to such medical facilities.

North Carolina employers in general industry and construction who designate employees as being responsible for providing first aid as a collateral job duty must also comply with the bloodborne pathogens standard. Please refer to the bloodborne pathogens safety and health topic page for additional information regarding compliance with this requirement.

Medical Services and First Aid

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What are the hazards associated with administering first aid?

The typical hazard associated with providing first aid is the potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens when bleeding is evident.


What can I do to protect myself?

Whenever providing first aid, even on a voluntary basis, exercise Universal Precautions to prevent direct contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials. Don single use gloves before treating others and be sure to wash hands as soon as possible with soap and water after removing gloves or when inadvertent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials occurs. Be sure that first aid supplies are appropriate for the work setting and are properly maintained.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

The First Aid, CPR and AED Response Policy is available for employers to download and customize to their work setting. This policy applies where employers have designated employees as having the responsibility to provide first aid as a collateral duty. The First Aid (BBP Exempt) Policy is available for employers that have not designated specific employees to provide first aid and are, therefore, exempt from the bloodborne pathogens standard. This example bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan and PPE hazard assessment can be downloaded and customized to fit an individual workplace. Employers are required to perform a workplace hazard analysis to determine what personal protective equipment is necessary to protect employees from continued exposure to identified hazards.

Training and Outreach Services

PowerPoint presentations on bloodborne pathogens, collateral first aid and personal protective equipment can aid the employer in their training efforts.

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Further, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

The A-Z topics page on personal protective equipmentCOVID-19Recording and Reporting, and bloodborne pathogens can provide more resource information. 

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.


What standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for medical services and first aid in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

Maritime, Marine Terminals


Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

Inquiries about workplace safety and health requirements can be submitted to Ask OSH through the online form, by email to, or by phone at 919-707-7876.