There is no law that states you must carry a first aid kit in a private vehicle in the UK. However, if you travel to Europe then you will likely drive in a country, such as Austria, Germany or Czech Republic where first aid kits are required. Some European countries have a ‘good samaritan law’ which means that you must stop and render assistance if you come across an accident, so a first aid kit is strongly advised.
There’s also no specific requirement under health and safety legislation for you to carry a first aid kit in a company vehicle, although it is recommended. Passenger-carrying vehicles (PCV) and public service vehicles (PSV) must carry a first aid box to British Standard BS 8599-2. Taxis must also carry a first aid kit.
Should company cars carry a first aid kit?
Company managers should conduct a risk assessment to determine whether a driver is at risk of suffering an injury while working, e.g. workers who work alone in remote areas, and use this to determine the level of first aid equipment that should be carried in a company vehicle. Note that a first aid kit is not a substitute for poor health and safety practices.
First aid kit contents for cars, lorries and passenger vehicles
Typical contents for a BS 8599-2-compliant first aid kit for vehicles that will seat up to 8 are:
- 10 cleansing wipes
- 1 foil blanket (adult)
- 1 adherent dressing
- 2 burn dressings
- 1 HSE dressing, medium
- 1 resuscitation device
- 2 gloves (pair)
- 1 guidance leaflet
- 1 trauma dressing, medium
- 1 triangular bandage
- 1 universal shears
- 10 washproof plasters
Buses and coaches have a larger supply of the above items plus a large trauma dressing.
Feel free to add items to the kit if there are specific hazards in your work. For example, gardeners may include tweezers for splinters and spines.
For passenger vehicles, the first aid kit should be secured with a bracket. For cars, the first aid kit can be kept in the boot, the glovebox or underneath one of the front seats.
Some items in a first aid kit will have expiry dates and will need to be replaced. Make a note to check your first aid kit every time the season changes.