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Cal-OSHA Contractor Kits and the Signed Physician Note

| Melinda Christilaw

 The State of California has specific recommendations when it comes to Contractor’s first aid kits. They have a list of supplies outlined in section 1512. Emergency Medical Service, Sub chapter 4. Construction Safety Orders Article 3. General.

This section states that every employer working on or furnishing personnel on a construction project, line crew and on other short duration or transient jobs shall provide at least one first-aid kit in a weatherproof container.

In addition, it states that the minimum first-aid supplies shall be determined by an employer-authorized, licensed physician or in accordance with the following table.

This table as well as the full text of their recommendations can be found on the Cal-OSHA website.

What does all this mean for you as the employer? It means that they have a specific list and container type they want you to have, and it would be considered the “bare minimum” for compliance. This is contract work though and these types of jobs tend to be more dangerous or hazardous than the typical occupation. Also, these types of jobs are often in the field and can vary widely when it comes to the distance to reach emergency services and the different types of injuries one may experience. Therefore, they state that the necessary first-aid supplies on hand shall be determined by an employer-authorized or licensed physician. When you purchase a Cal-OSHA kit it will never come with this signed Physician’s note. It is the employer’s responsibility to have this signed off and the recommendation from the physician will be specific to that workplace and job.

So where do you go to get a physician’s note? I spoke with a Cal-OSHA rep last month at the NCS Safety Congress to ask them about all of these specifics. They stated that wherever the employer sends their employees who have been injured on the job for medical care, that facility has Physicians that can determine if the supplies in your kit are sufficient. Cal-OSHA even said you could simply email your workplace Physician a list of contents for them to review and approve. They can sign off that it is adequate for the workplace and send it back to you or recommend additional supplies to add to the kit prior to approval.

It is important to note that the physician will help you determine supplies that may be needed based on your individual occupation and hazards, but it will remain the employer’s responsibility to keep the supplies inspected regularly to ensure that the expended and expired items are promptly replaced.

Now what? You can browse the CAL-OSHA kits we have available but we find that our Class A kits have the best assortment of supplies if your workplace is not terribly hazardous or Class B kits if you anticipate broken bones, heavily bleeding appendages and/or are working in remote locations where emergency services are unable to respond quickly. Once again you would need your physician to approve those kits. Another option is that we can customize them for you. You can select the kit that may be right for you and we can add in any additional recommended Cal-OSHA Contractor kit items.

Want to make sure that you’re covered? Call your local Cal-OSHA office and ask them what you need, then follow the steps with the physician from there. Once you have your approved list, just keep those supplies readily available and you will be prepared for your next incident.

It is extremely important that you, as an employer, have the correct supplies on hand. If you have a list of supplies or need a custom kit, please request a quote here and we will get back to you promptly.