OARS - First Aid (Definition for Supervisors)

Supervisors must ask employees enough to determine the level of medical treatment!


Are surgical glues used to treat lacerations considered "first aid?"

No, surgical glue is a wound closing device. All wound closing devices except for butterfly and steri strips are by definition "medical treatment," because they are not included on the first aid list.


One item on the first aid list is "drinking fluids for relief of heat stress." Does this include administering intravenous (IV) fluids?

No. Intravenous administration of fluids to treat work-related heat stress is medical treatment.


Is the use of a rigid finger guard considered first aid?

Yes, the use of finger guards is always first aid.


What is "first aid?"

For the purposes of recording, "first aid" means the following:

  • Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
  • Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment);
  • Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin;
  • Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids™, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips™ (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment);
  • Using hot or cold therapy;
  • Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
  • Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).
  • Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister;
  • Using eye patches;
  • Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab;
  • Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means;
  • Using finger guards;
  • Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes); or
  • Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.

Are any other procedures included in first aid? No, this is a complete list of all treatments considered first aid.


For medications such as Ibuprofen that are available in both prescription and non-prescription form, what is considered to be prescription strength? How is an employer to determine whether a non-prescription medication has been recommended at prescription strength for purposes of recording medical treatment beyond first aid?

The prescription strength of such medications is determined by the measured quantity of the therapeutic agent to be taken at one time, i.e., a single dose. The single dosages that are considered prescription strength for four common over-the-counter drugs are: Ibuprofen (such as Advil™) - Greater than 467 mg Diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl™) - Greater than 50 mg Naproxen Sodium (such as Aleve™) - Greater than 220 mg Ketoprofen (such as Orudis KT™) - Greater than 25mg To determine the prescription-strength dosages for other drugs that are available in prescription and non-prescription formulations, the supervisor should contact EH&S at 206-253-7388.


The rule defines first aid, in part, as "removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means." What are "other simple means" of removing splinters that are considered first aid?

"Other simple means" of removing splinters, for purposes of the first-aid definition, means methods that are reasonably comparable to the listed methods. Using needles, pins or small tools to extract splinters would generally be included.


How long must a modification to a job last before it can be considered a permanent modification so that an Employer can stop counting restricted work or transfer?

An employer can stop counting days of restricted work or transfer to another job if the restriction or transfer is made permanent. A permanent restriction or transfer is one that is expected to last for the remainder of the employee's career. Where the restriction or transfer is determined to be permanent at the time it is ordered, the employer must count at least one day of the restriction or transfer on the Log. If the employee whose work is restricted or who is transferred to another job is expected to return to his or her former job duties at a later date, the restriction or transfer is considered temporary rather than permanent. Please see FAQ "How do I record a work-related injury or illness that results in days away from work?"


If an employee loses his arm in a work-related accident or some other accident and can never return to his job, how is the case recorded? Is the day count capped at 180 days?

If an Employee never returns to work following a work-related injury, the Employer must check the "days away from work" column, and enter an estimate of the number of days the employee would have required to recuperate from the injury, up to180 days. 180 days is the largest numerical number accepted for days away.


If an employee who routinely works ten hours a day is restricted from working more than eight hours following a work-related injury, is the case reportable?

Generally, the Employer must record any case in which an Employee's work is restricted because of a work-related injury. For the definition of work restriction, please see previous FAQ. Work restriction occurs when the employer keeps the employee from performing one or more routine functions of the job, or from working the full workday the employee would otherwise have been scheduled to work. The case in question is recordable if the employee would have worked 10 hours had he or she not been injured.


If an employee is exposed to chlorine or some other substance at work and oxygen is administered as a precautionary measure, is the case recordable?

If oxygen is administered as a purely precautionary measure to an employee who does not exhibit any symptoms of an injury or illness, the case should be reported as a near miss. If the employee exposed to a substance exhibits symptoms of an injury or illness, the administration of oxygen makes the case reportable.