California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has recently increased enforcement of violations of a General Industry Safety Order requiring that employers’ first-aid materials be approved by a consulting physician.
The California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3400 (c) states, in relevant part:
There shall be adequate first-aid materials, approved by the consulting physician, readily available for employees on every job.
While most employers in California may have first-aid kits in place, many may not have kits that are specifically approved by a consulting physician. Lack of approval by a consulting physician makes a first-aid kit non-compliant with the standard subjecting the employer to potential citations for violating the standard. Cal/OSHA’s position is that the hazard associated with lack of approval by a consulting physician is that personal medications or unauthorized drugs might be placed inside a first-aid kit.
Although there is some push in the legislature towards changing the standard to remove the requirement for approval by a consulting physician, until the change actually happens, California employers should be aware of this trend in increased citations for non-complying first-aid kits and ensure that workplace kits are in compliance with the standard. A likely easy and simple way to become complaint could be providing for review and approval to the employer’s consulting physician a written list of contents of the first-aid kit and documenting the physician’s approval.1