Understanding first aid regulation in Singapore

A company required to follow the Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations unless their workplace belongs to the followings: 

– Any hospital

– Any medical clinic

Since the purpose of having first aid is to prevent the injury from becoming worse till a medical practitioner or nurse comes, first aid in a hospital or medical clinic is not needed as they have an abundance of such medical practitioners.

That is why the Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations do not apply to the above 2 types of workplaces.  

Provision of first aid boxes

Under Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations section 4, every workplace covered in the scope of first aid regulation is required to have a first aid box that is sufficient for use and well maintained. 

So, how many first aid boxes does a company need?

In short, it’s up to the company.

Currently, the regulation requires every workplace in each floor to be provided with a sufficient number of first-aid boxes. 

The company has to assess whether the number of first-aid boxes provided in each floor is sufficient and easily accessible by the employees based on their need. 

In the regulations, there is no fixed amount of first aid boxes required and it is up to the company to justify the quantity themselves. 

Maintenance of first aid boxes 

Under Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations section 4, the company is required to maintain the first aid boxes to ensure that they are adequately equipped and usable. 

So how often does the company need to inspect their first aid boxes? 

Although the company is required under the regulations to check the first aid box frequently, there are no requirements regarding how often they are required to inspect the first aid boxes. 

The inspection frequency is up to the company to decide. 

The company is required to make sure that there are enough first aid items to handle the emergency and the frequency of inspection can be decided based on the manufacturer’s recommendation or the company’s frequency of use of the first aid box.  

First aiders

Under Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations section 5, the company is required to have first aiders based on the following criteria:

“Where more than 25 persons are employed in a workplace, there shall be appointed in the workplace as first-aiders who shall be readily available during working hours such number of persons as complies with the ratio of one first-aider for every 100 persons employed in the workplace or part thereof“

So how many first aiders does the company need based on the above requirement?

The term “employed” refers to the total number of headcount currently at work in the workplace rather than just the total number of employees that is employed by the company. 

This count includes the number of outsourced contractors currently at work in the workplace as well.

So, if the company has more than 16 staff and 10 contractors working in the workplace, they need to appoint a first aider and that first aider must be readily available even during off working hours. 

In the event that the company only has 2 workers working overtime, a first aider is also required to render aid in the event that emergencies happen.  

That’s why, it would be wise to have first aiders that will be in the premises such as security guards working on a 24 hour basis. 


Under Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations section 5, training is required before a person can be appointed as a first aider. 

So what training is required to become a first aider? 

All first aiders must be trained by Ministry of Manpower’s accredited training providers before the company can appoint them officially as a first aider. 

They are required to go for an occupational first aid course with a training duration of 3 days. 

The first aider certification will last for 2 years and the first aiders are required to go for a refresher course before their certification expires to renew their certification. The refresher course is 2 days. 

If they attend the first aid refresher course after it expires, they are required to attend the full 3 days training again.    

Record of first aid treatment 

First aiders are required under the regulation to record down the types of treatment they administer for the victim according to the regulations. 

Although the regulation did not specify any kind of information required for recording, templates in general should contain important information that best describes the treatments that first aiders give.

First aid room  

Under Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations section 6, a first aid room is legally required when the company has more than 500 persons at work, which includes contractors. 

For some companies, they may experience sudden influx of contractors coming into the company during peak periods for maintenance which boost the workers at work to more than 500.

So for such cases, they can consider writing to the Ministry of Manpower to ask for permission case by case to obtain a waiver of this requirement.

So how to design a first aid room?

While the regulations did not specify any requirements for the first aid room, there are some guidelines the company can follow according to an old guide from the Ministry of Manpower. 

The items in a first aid room recommended by them are as follows:  

First-aid for exposure to toxic or corrosive substances

Under the Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations section 7, if workers are required to deal with toxic or corrosive substances, the company is required to provide facilities for quick drenching or flushing of eyes and body. 

The definition of toxic substances under Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations is as follows –  

“toxic substance” means any substance which may cause irritation, bodily injury or any harmful effect to a person through ingestion, inhalation or contact with any body surface, and includes any substance specified in the First Schedule”

If the company has any substances that fits the above description, they are required to provide quick drenching facilities. 

The company can install a safety shower and eyewash to fulfill the requirement. 

So where should the company install eye wash and a safety shower? 

According to the guidelines from laboratories handling chemicals, the safety shower and eyewash should be installed in a location where the victim can reach them within 10 seconds.

If the company has a large area where personnel can be exposed to toxic substances, they need to install more of those safety showers and eyewashes to meet the guide. 

How often should the company flush the safety shower and eyewash? 

Under section 7 of the Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations, the occupier is required to properly maintain the facilities although the regulations did not mandate the frequency. 

According to a WSHC guideline laboratories handling chemicals, they did recommend that the flushing of the safety shower and eyewash be done at least once a week for a few minutes.

The occupier can work with their eyewash and safety manufacturer to establish the frequency and maintenance program as the manufacturer will know what is best for their product. 

Should industrial water be used to wash a person splashed by chemicals?

The short and long answer is NO. Do not use industrial water to wash the person as the water might not be clean enough to deal with any open wounds from chemical burns or to be used as eye wash. Always try to use clean water sources from domestic water tanks. 






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