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.
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
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 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.
29 CFR 1910.151 - medical services and first aid
29 CFR 1910.266 - logging
29 CFR 1910.269 - electric power generation, transmission and distribution
29 CFR 1910.421 - pre-dive procedures
Maritime, Shipyard Employment
29 CFR 1915.87 - medical services and first aid
Maritime, Marine Terminals
29 CFR 1917.26 - first aid and life saving facilities
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 Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to first aid in construction.
Industry Guide 49 – OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to first aid in general industry.
Industry Guide 53 - OSHA Shipyard Employment Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training highlights the requirements of standards related to first aid in shipyard employment.
Industry Guide 54 - OSHA Marine Terminal Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to first aid at marine terminals.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.