• Sharyn Foote
    Hi everyone,

    We are changing the rules around what we stock in our first aid kits and I would be interested to hear your opinion/experience.

    The WorkSafe information (First Aid for Workplaces - A Good Practice Guide) is out of date, though still current.

    What are your thoughts, and what do you do in your workplace:
    1. No paracetamol (or other over the counter medicines)
    2. Paracetamol (or other over the counter medicines) handed out by a first aider (or similar), and users sign and date how much they have used etc. in a notebook.

  • Andrew
    No over counter pharmas provided. Get the tight arses to go to the chemist at lunch time
  • Tony Walton
    Sharyn, agree with Andrew. Have a look at this Medsafe SDS which has all the evidence you need to justify not allowing personal medications in workplace first aid kits. https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/p/panadoltab.pdf
  • Rob Carroll
    First aiders are not allow to prescribe medication (regardless of a signed waiver or not) so save yourself the hassle and don’t supply any medication.
  • Sharyn Foote
    Thanks all, we have already decided not to include it in our kits but it was nice to hear others thoughts.
  • Jono Johnson
    Apologies in advance for the rather abrupt reply but are we not all adults here? Do we not all put our big boy & big girl pants on in the morning before we go to work? Jeez. If you have panadol in your medkits, or on the H&S Reps shelf, or in the secretary's draw or wherever-the-hell it is, thus freely available to workers, this does not count as 1st-aiders (or anyone else) "prescribing" medication.
    If businesses want to have panadol available for workers (so long as it's correctly monitored or whatever, blah blah, or even if it's not!) they are allowed to.
    What's the big deal about someone, in this particular instance, taking something that is readily available from any supermarket? Or something that you give your 10 year old kid when they come to you & say "Mum/Dad, I have a headache". Or when you take your baby to the doctor and he/she prescribes pamol for it - not such a big deal then I bet. Or when YOU go to the doctor and he/she hands you over a PRESCRIPTION for a pkt of 100 panadol for $3 and straight away you think "Awesome, now I don't have to pay $3.99 for 20 at Countdown".

    Please tell me the reason for not having panadol in workplace1st aid kits is not because of the worry that someone is going to take all of it and OD on it? It's not is it?
  • Tony Walton
    Agree Alan. Many employers provide access to Panadol and they are well within their rights to do so - others wonder whether they should or should not and may need to justify to their staff 'why not' hence Sharyn's post on this to get some feedback.
  • Kim Pryor
    We have a not so secret stash of panadol on site which staff can access, it doesn't go in the first aid kit so that we have the opportunity to ask a few questions before we hand them over. Our key concern is with allergies rather than an overdose, before we dish out any we always ask if they have ever had an allergic reaction to it before and we only ever give out 2 at a time. If an operator comes back regularly asking for panadol we have a conversation with them around what the underlying causes might be and offer to send staff to our company doctor for a check-up (depending of course on the reason for needing the panadol)
  • Aaron Marshall

    1. It's a FIRST aid kit. The levels of pain that Panadol is taken for is not 'First' Aid.
    2. Having Panadol in the kits make them a source, so the first aid kits tend to be opened and contents disturbed. I'm talking more about vehicle kits here, not the ones in offices, etc. This opening/disturbing hte contents means that there is more chance of sterile, sealed packages being damaged. I've seen it a couple of times.

    Every place that I've worked has had them accessible for staff, but they were never in a first aid kit, or given out: you had to go and get your own.
  • Adam Parkinson
    After discussing this many times over the years. We continue to supply paracetamol in our office-based first aid kit.
    Staff requests for this seem to be the driver.
    We record how often we are restocking and how much
    They sit in the top of the1st aid box so as not to disturb the rest of the kit contents.
  • Andrew
    Alan. I totally agree with you. Employees should put their big boy and girl pants on. If they know they get headaches they should bring their own medication. If its a rarity they should know to have something in their car, purse or desk.

    Do you want to supply every little thing for employees. Hanky dispensers (we provide tissues) tampon dispensers (we dont), incontinence pads (we don't - but there is a need) or all manner of personal health related stuff? Its a slippery slope.

    Most importantly, paracetemol is a terrible, terrible drug."After the death of 22-year-old Amber Nicol, who had taken paracetamol for a toothache, Dr Nigel Miller told the Coroner: “Paracetamol is highly toxic in only modest doses. It’s readily available as a medication for general sale [which] may give an unwarranted reassurance of its safety, whereas it can cause severe illness and death at doses only modestly above the recommended maximum.” Do you really want to be monitoring prior intakes and subsequent hand outs. Good luck with that. I cannot stress enough the low dose levels which are easily exceeded which can lead to irreparable damage and death.

    And look at my position. How can I fire people for selling drugs and alcohol on the premises if I am busy handing out drugs - that's hypocrisy of some great magnitude.
  • craig christie
    we don't supply any over the counter medication whatsoever
  • Adam Parkinson
    Perhaps we could have this conversation thread without the implied name calling - can get that on Twitter. Don't Really need that lecture in bold on the dangers of medications either.
    I think there are better ways to deliver convincing and thoughtful commentary.
  • Andrew
    roflmao. Thanks Adam. Needed the laugh.
  • Susan Gale
    We removed issuing Panadol etc a few years ago following some back and forth discussions at the H&S Committee. Since then, following an incident of suspected heart attack and the ambos recommending that if anyone had any Asprin to give the person under their tongue. No one had any, so we bought a packet and keep it with the AED with a note saying along the lines of "only issue if prescribed by a medical practitioner/ambulance staff".
  • Shirlene Vautier
    I have personally experienced being visited by two uniformed police officers who issued me (on behalf of my workplace) a summons for a charge relating to the misuse of drugs. The charge followed the death of a person by overdose from medication that they took from a cupboard in the workplace. As well as the tragedy of the person who died, uncontrolled medication in the workplace is real (not theoretical) legal risk.
  • Andrew
    And to stay on topic it might be worth referencing Australia since they are much more up to date on safety than we are - that's why we copied their Act. From their Model code of Practice First Aid they say

    "Medication, including analgesics such as paracetamol and aspirin, should not be included in first aid kits because of their potential to cause adverse health effects in some people including asthmatics, pregnant women and people with medical conditions. The supply of these medications may also be controlled by drugs and poisons laws. Workers requiring prescribed and over-the-counter medications should carry their own medication for their personal use as necessary."
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