During the OSHA 30-hour and 10-hour training sessions I teach, I often get some of the same questions. Today’s questions relate to OSHA’s medical services and first aid requirements – the definition of “in near proximity.”

How does OSHA define “in near proximity” and “reasonably accessible” as it relates to providing first aid treatment in the workplace?

Employers who choose to rely upon outside emergency personnel for first aid treatment must ensure that medical assistance is readily available; hence the terms in near proximity and reasonably accessible. While OSHA standards only define these terms broadly, the organization has interpreted these terms to mean that emergency services must be available within no more than 3 to 4 minutes from the workplace.

However, OSHA does recognize that a longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be considered reasonable for workplaces such as offices where the possibility of serious work-related injuries is not as likely.

When does an employer need an employee that is “adequately trained” in first aid?

The primary requirement of OSHA’s first aid standards is that an employer must ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite.

“Adequately trained” is typically determined by: If an employer chooses to have a member of its workforce trained in first aid, he or she must have a valid certificate in first-aid training from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the American Red Cross, or an equivalent training that can be verified.

OSHA Regulations

» 1910.151 medical services and first aid
» 1926.50 Construction Medical services and first aid
» OSHA Standard Interpretations: Clarification of “in near proximity” [03/23/2007]