Workplace Essentials That Can Prevent Health Catastrophes

Americans spend one-third of their lives at work, so it’s only natural that some unexpected health emergencies will occur at the office. As an executive or manager, this is a reality that needs to be properly prepared for or taken into account. Still, a 2014 survey showed that only 50 percent of employees feel their workplace is ready for an emergency – especially a health-related one.

There are certain tools and emergency medical machines you can and should have present in your office just in case such an event occurs. Here are some of the workplace essentials that can prevent serious health catastrophes.

First Aid Kit

The first and most obvious thing every office must-have is a basic first aid kit. A first aid kit may sit on the shelf collecting dust for years before it is actually ever used. But odds are, there will come a time when you need it, and buying one is a small price to pay for being prepared.

A sufficient first aid kit should include the following items:

  • Bandages (in multiple sizes and including compression bandages)
  • Antibacterial creams like Neosporin or Bacitracin
  • Gauze
  • Ointment for burns
  • Throw-away thermometers
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Splints
  • Instant cold packs and heating pads
  • Pain-relieving pills including both aspirin and non-aspirin ibuprofen
  • Tape
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Gloves—some people are allergic to latex, so you may also want to get silicone-based gloves.


Sudden heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States and about 10,000 of those heart attacks happen every year while people are at work.

According to OSHA, using an AED (automated external defibrillator) on someone experiencing cardiac arrest can greatly increase their chances of survival. Further, AEDs seem to be particularly effective in the workplace because there are likely to be employees present who have undergone training on how to use the device. Your workplace should, therefore, have at least one AED present and located in an easy-to-access location–one that several people know about.

Aside from the fact that they can save your life, one of the best things about AEDs is that they are low-maintenance. A typical AED can last between 5-10 years, so you don’t need to worry about them every month or even every year. You should, however, check on your AED and test to make sure it is in working order at least every other year.

Kind in mind, though, that AEDs are not toys and it’s important that staff are trained on how best to use them. This training can be done at the same time as standard CPR and choking training.

CPR Barrier

Another item you should keep on-hand is a CPR barrier. CPR barriers have become more prevalent over the past few decades as the number of cross-contamination cases has increased. Cross-contamination can occur during CPR when either the person administering transmits a disease to the victim or when the victim transmits a disease to the person administering.

Either way, there is always a chance of cross-contamination if and whenever bodily fluids are being exchanged. You’re better off playing it safe and using a CPR barrier.

Heimlich Maneuver Infographic

Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death/injury, yet many people don’t quite know how to respond in such a situation. If someone is choking the office, the best move is for a fellow employee to administer the Heimlich maneuver. While most people think the Heimlich maneuver is instinctual, however, it does involve a certain level of precision.

Since Heimlich maneuver training is not provided in most schools and workplaces, it helps to have an infographic in the employee breakroom so that there are visual aids in the event of sudden choking.

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