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OSHA tips for workplace first aid program

November 18, 2010

Employers and employees can develop workplace first-aid programs and review key elements of other successful programs, including how to plan and conduct safe and effective first-aid training, using a new publication by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.


"Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program," can be downloaded free at  


OSHA’s medical service and first-aid rule requires that dealerships ensure the availability of:


  • medical personnel for consultation on matters of workplace health, 
  • physician-approved first-aid kits, and
  • eyewash facilities in areas where corrosive materials (e.g., battery acids) are used.


The medical service and first aid standard also requires dealerships not located within four minutes of a medical facility to designate employees as responders to workplace emergency situations. These responders must be trained in basic first aid. Moreover, OSHA’s blood-borne pathogens rule expands the responsibilities of dealerships and their designated responders.  

While dealerships are not typically workplaces where employees are exposed daily to blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM), compliance is required to the extent that:


  • An accident could occur that would create an exposure incident involving blood or OPIM; and
  • The dealership is not within four minutes of a clinic, hospital, or infirmary.  

Publication of OSHA’s Guide coincides with a heightened concern regarding cases of septic shock being reported in association with contaminated "flood cars" from last year’s hurricane zones. Apparently, some cars submerged in the flood waters were infected with septic toxins that have the potential to reside in the vehicle for a considerable length of time, posing a health risk to vehicle technicians who receive a cut or scratch while working on such vehicles.


Dealers who have additional questions or concerns after reviewing the OSHA guide can contact the NADA’s regulatory affairs department or 703-821-7040.