Do First Aid Kits Expire?

do first aid kits expire, can first aid kits expire, when do first aid kits expire

The Facility Manager’s Guide to Maintaining First Aid Supplies

Making sure your workplace is a safe environment for your employees is not just a legal obligation; it’s a moral one. And at the core of workplace safety is a well-stocked first aid kit. However, first aid kits are often treated like a ‘set and forget’ fixture – something we rarely think about until there’s an emergency.

This can be a mistake. Just like pantry items or medications, first aid supplies have a shelf life. Expired supplies are ineffective at best and, at worst, can actually cause harm. In this comprehensive post, we cover the importance of regular first aid kit checks, how to replace items properly, and specifically address common first aid items and their shelf lives.

The Role of Facilities Managers in First Aid Kit Management

Facilities managers are on the front line when it comes to workplace safety. They are responsible for ensuring that the correct procedures, equipment, and policies are in place. First aid kits are often included in routine checks for compliance with health and safety legislation. These professionals need to understand not only what items should be in the kit but also how to maintain their integrity.

Do First Aid Kits Expire? Yes. Regular Checks Save Lives

First aid kits should be checked regularly. This process ensures that all items are present and in working order. For facilities managers, setting a schedule and ensuring that it’s followed is crucial. Weekly checks are a good habit, but an in-depth review should occur at least every six months.

The Impact of Missing or Expired Supplies

If an emergency occurs and a first aid kit is missing crucial supplies or contains expired items, anyone using it may be at risk. Missing bandages or an expired disinfectant could lead to a small injury becoming much more significant.

first aid supplies, first aid training, first aid at work

Why Do First Aid Kit Expire?

In this section, we explain what common first aid supplies have expiry dates and why they have them. We also detail what expiry dates mean in the context of these materials and why following them is important.

Do plasters expire?

Plasters, or adhesive bandages, can lose their adhesiveness over time. Even if they don’t, the sterile wound pad can lose its sterility, putting you at risk for infection rather than preventing it.

Do bandages expire?

Yes, they do. Bandages can deteriorate, especially if they are in contact with the air for a long period. This can reduce their effectiveness and can cause issues with sterility.

Do wipes expire?

Sterile cleansing wipes that have expired may no longer be sterile and can dry out and be ineffective. If used on a wound, they could introduce infection instead of preventing it.

Do gloves expire?

Yes! Gloves can be made of different materials that can break down over time, reducing their ability to protect you from exposure to pathogens and materials.

first aid at work training and first aid supplies

Conducting a Thorough Check

A thorough examination should involve checking for missing or damaged items. Sometimes, an item may not be visibly damaged but could be expired. This check may require you to go through the kit item by item.

How do you check the expiry date?

Understanding how to interpret expiration date codes on the first aid items is the first step in ensuring your supplies are up to date. We’ll take you through what to look for and what it means.

What if there is no expiry date?

If you can’t find an expiry date on your first aid kit and you’re not sure if the item is past its prime, look into the manufacturer’s guidelines. If there’s still uncertainty, the best course of action is to contact the manufacturer directly.

Replacing Supplies

When you replace an item in the first aid kit, it’s not just a matter of popping in a new one and calling it a day. Proper disposal, keeping records of replacements, and ensuring items are of the correct replacement are all key steps.

Disposal Guidelines

Improperly disposing of first aid supplies, particularly those that used to be sterile, can be unsafe. We will help you create a disposal plan that minimizes risk to workers and the environment.

Replacing Items When First Aid Kits Expire

Knowing how and when to replace items ensures that your first aid kit will always be ready for an emergency. This involves understanding the individual shelf life of each item and how often they need to be replaced.

Training and Awareness

Having a well-stocked first aid kit is only part of the equation. Ensuring that your staff knows how to use the first aid equipment is equally important. You should also be aware of the latest first aid procedures and be able to disseminate this information.

Keeping Staff Informed

Sometimes, first aid techniques can change. Keeping your staff up-to-date on these changes can be as simple as a newsletter or as involved as a training seminar.

Emergency Management Plans

A first aid kit is often the first line of defense in an emergency. Having a plan for how to use these kits alongside a facility-wide emergency response plan ensures a coordinated, effective response.

first aid supplies, first aid training, business london

Do First Aid Kits Expire? Final Words

Yes, first aid kits can do and do expire. The contents of first aid kits can expire in different ways. As first aid kits are essential in any workplace, their maintenance is critical. By understanding what first aid items can expire and why, how to conduct thorough checks, and the right way to replace items, facilities managers can be proactive in reducing risks to the workforce. Remember, your commitment to safety is not just in having the kit, but in actively managing its content and condition. WG can assist in checking and renewing your first aid kits to avoid expiry and keep your workplace safe.

About WG For Business

WG has over 50 years award winning experience in supplying first aid kits, providing first aid kits and testing first aid kits for expiry. WG can offer a no-obligation first aid kit assessment as well as comprehensive first aid training (on or off site). Watch this video about us here:

Also read our guide to reliable first aid training:

3 Key Points: Reliable First Aid Supplies and Training

Do first aid kits expire? Also read this helpful first aid kits key facts guide by the UK Government

Contact us today to find out more from our first aid experts.