• Chris Anderson
    Hey All,

    We have just purchased some first aid kits that have an expiry date of June 2020 printed on them, which doesn't give us much time with them form an investment standpoint. From my thinking if the original packaging is intact then there is no reason that an item in the first aid would be expired, especially when considering things like bandages and plasters.

    What are you views on this? Do you think it is acceptable/ safe to have first aid kits, or items in the first aid kit that are expired?
  • E Baxter
    Hi would take back to the supplier and get an exchange. Personally having expiry dates on the like of bandages seems ridiculous (happy to be enlightened as to why they are needed). Plasters though do loose their stickability after time so I normally get rid of those. On the up side expired items can be great for training sessions.
  • Tony Walton
    Chris it appears you need to do your own risk assessment on this. Can understand sterile eyewash (best to get single use products) but not on wound dressings & disinfectants etc. Have a look at Worksafe's First Aid Good Practice Guide (they say it is good practice to check and replace expiry dates where stated on the product) but this appears to be a 'why not' rather than a 'you should'. Agree with E Baxter - one year suggests the product supplier has sold you old stock and may not have a FIFO quality system in place. Just an observation to consider.
  • Aaron Marshall
    It really depends on what is in the first aid kit, and what drives the 'expiry' date.
    Within the Aviation industry, they've got an annual inspection, with replacement of any items that are due to expire within that timeframe.
    This seems like a pretty logical method - it doesn't take any special training to open it up, check expiry dates on items, and that everything is in there, and then close it back up again.
  • Angie
    Our first aid kits are checked and restocked every 3 months. The first thing I check is the Saline as it has an expiry date printed on the bottom of the bottle, Exp Sep 20 and also some dressings do have expiry dates eg: Non adherent absorbent dressing from 2017-09 to 2022-08. It pays to check and familiarize yourself with the contents of each kit and what will need replacing.
  • Alex
    We check all of our first aid kits every 6 months and add an inspection sticker with a next due date. We don't worry about expiry dates on plasters/bandages etc but do swap out saline and asprin when close to expiry. We're big enough that keeping supplies for restocking isn't an issue
  • Michelle Dykstra
    I have seen first aid items in retro packaging that were manufactured prior to expiry dates being introduced!
  • Rob Lord
    If you have 1st Aid products that have expired donate them to a local Vet Clinic. Animals (other than humans) don't seem to be so concerned about expiry & best before dates.
  • Andy Anderson
    Chris. I know that the clinical direction of the large provider of ambulance services allows for expired first aid equipment, provided it isn't likely to be ingested or absorbed. Where items have expired (bandages etc.) they should be subject to visual inspection and if they are damaged or similar they should be discarded (in the best method possible, see Rob's comment above). As an auditor what we look for is whether you have a policy around this and therefore you are implementing this.
  • Sarah Graham
    2020 does seem a very short shelf life even for things with an expiry date. There is every chance that the date does not refer to all the items in the kit but the one that is closest to expiry so I would suggest having a look in the kit, which will also familiarise you with the contents, and replace that one item rather than the whole kit. Expiry dates tend to be on sterilised items which may come into contact with open wounds or as above ingested or absorbed, and beyond the specified date may no longer be sterile, so best practice would suggest when you are checking your first aid kit to replace any expired items. This also applies to AED's as the batteries and pads have an expiry date.
    You'll probably find many items in your kit do not have an expiry date.
  • Jonathan Godfrey
    Expiry dates are only on those items that have been sterilised - after the date, the item can no longer be guaranteed to be sterile, and there is a risk (increasing as time passes) of infection should the items be used. As others have noted, there should be regular inspections of items, with particular attention paid to the seals of products, if the seal is broken on a sterilised product, it is not to be treated as though it is still sterile - there is a high risk of infection from such a product (the air contains a surprising number of things that can cause infections in wounds, and a non-sterile dressing produces a humid environment that they find ideal for growth).
    Regarding the short date on supplies - this is becoming a problem with some suppliers - I've encountered it myself at work, and we sent the goods back requiring they replace them with goods that actually had a usable shelf-life.
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