First Aid For Cuts and Puncture Wounds

Having a proper first aid kit with first aid supplies is crucial in the workplace to assist injured people before professional help can be given. This guide will help you prepare for emergent and non-emergent incidents that happen at your business. If you’re ever unsure of what to do to help an injured person, call for help. The wrong move can make things worse.

Steps to Treating a Cut or Scrape

  1. Contact Medical Personnel If Necessary – First and foremost, serious lacerations should be treated by medical personnel. Deep cuts should not be treated by inexperienced people and may require serious medical attention. If the injury is an emergency, call 911 to ensure that professional medical care is available quickly. For non-emergency work injuries, click here to learn more about free 24/7 access to nurses for recommendations.  
  2. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly – If the wound is non-emergent and does not require stitches, wash your hands. The last thing you want to do is cause an infection.
  3. Clean The Wound – Rinse the laceration with clean water and clean the area. Avoid getting soap inside of the wound. Remove any dirt and debris with tweezers.
  4. Apply Antibiotic Ointment – Spread a thin layer of antibiotic ointment on the wound. (Be sure the person is not allergic to the topical before you begin.) If they show signs of rash or hives, refrain from use.
  5. Bandage The Wound – Apply gauze or bandages to the wound and secure with tape.
  6. Tetanus Shot – Depending on the situation and the medical history of the injured person, they may require a tetanus shot. This may be the case if they haven’t had one in the past 5 years and if the wound was dirty or caused by a dirty object. Contact a medical provider to discuss.

When to Visit a Hospital After a Cut

Knowing how to treat a cut is great in a pinch, but if the injury warrants medical treatment, like stitches, that should be left to a professional. Immediately seek medical attention in these situations:

  • If the cut is gaping and is deeper than a quarter of an inch
  • If the person feels numb
  • The cut was caused by a rusty or dirty object
  • The laceration continues to bleed after 15 minutes of applied pressure
  • The cut is on a joint that cannot bend without bleeding
  • If you are unsure about the seriousness of an injury, consult a medical professional for evaluation.

What Should Be in My First Aid Kit?

All businesses should be properly equipped with first aid kits — especially in industries where cuts are common, such as restaurants.

In 1998, the OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.151) for first aid kits was revised to say that a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid and adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available. Listed below are the basic contents of a first aid kit that meets OSHA standards:

  • Quantity Absorbent Compress: 4” x 8” minimum, 1 each
  • Adhesive Bandages: 1” x 3”, 16 each
  • Adhesive Tape: 5 yards
  • Antiseptic Applications: 0.5g each, 10 each
  • Burn Treatment Applications: 0.5g each, 6 each
  • Sterile Pads: 3”x 3” minimum, 4 each
  • Medical Exam Gloves: 2 pairs
  • Triangular Bandage: 40” x 40” x 56” minimum, 1 each

A first aid kit should have optional items added based on specific workplace hazards. These items should be selected by consulting with a healthcare professional or person who is knowledgeable about first aid as well as the hazards found in your workplace.

Be sure to regularly inspect your first aid kits to ensure that they are full, in good condition, and have not expired. The contents list for the first aid kit should be periodically reviewed to ensure that it always meets the needs of your workplace hazards.

If an injury happens at your business, report a claim as soon as possible to recoup your losses quickly and efficiently. Not sure what to do when an accident occurs? Learn more about Property Casualty Claims and Workers Compensation Claims. To discuss how insurance can help your business, find an agent near you today.


As a mutual insurance company, we operate and exist for the benefit of our policyholders. For more than 100 years, Society has been helping businesses overcome the unexpected with comprehensive coverage packages and outstanding claims handling, underwriting and risk management.

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