First Aid Compliance

First Aid Compliance

Go to for scheduled First-Aid classes and registration.

Because each restaurant is unique, first aid needs will vary depending on the number of employees, type of work, job hazards and the availability of medical services. All restaurants, regardless of size, must ensure that first aid assistance is available should an employee be injured or become ill while at work.

The Department of Labor and Industries requires every employer in Washington state, regardless of number of employees, to have at least one employee per shift trained in both first aid and CPR or can demonstrate that first aid response can be obtained quickly. This requirement can be filled by either of the following methods:

Option 1

Maintain a first aid trained employee at work during all shifts: To comply with this requirement, you must:

  • Ensure that each shift has a designated person with first aid training available to employees.
  • Keep a record of first aid training.
  • Keep emergency numbers posted.

Option 2

Determine and document that your restaurant is within close proximity to a medical facility: There is a section in the law that releases an employer from this obligation (having a first aid trained employee available at all shifts) if they can demonstrate their establishment is within “close proximity” to a medical facility. The main problem with using this argument to satisfy your first aid obligation is that neither federal nor state law defines “close proximity.” Detailing the distance and directions and approximate time to the nearest medical facility will demonstrate to the inspector that you’ve analyzed your particular situation. While it is no longer a requirement to maintain a written first aid response plan, if you plan to use the “close proximity” argument, the Washington Hospitality Association would strongly suggest that you keep a record of the following:

  • Distance and directions to the nearest medical facility.
  • Approximate time it takes to get to the medical facility.
  • Hours of operation at the nearest medical treatment facility.
  • A description of your work location and types of potential work hazards in your restaurant.
  • Identification and posting of available emergency medical services and access numbers.
  • The location of first aid supplies and a list of the contents of the first aid kit.
  • A plan for how first aid supplies and/or kits will be inspected and maintained.

How does your restaurant obtain first aid and CPR instruction?

First Aid and CPR cards may have an expiration date for re-certification. If the certification does not include an expiration date, first aid training should be done every three years and CPR training should be done annually. Training can be done through the Washington Hospitality Association or through such associations as the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, local fire departments and community colleges.

Which option works for you?

How do you know which option best fits your business? You will need to consider the potential for and degree of occupation hazards, the sources of potential injuries, your history of past medical emergencies, your workers’ comp. rate and the estimated response time for emergency medical services.

It may be difficult to justify not having first aid trained staff. The burden of proof is on the employer to prove to L&I that you have evaluated your workplace, identified the hazards and show that the response time by emergency medical professionals would be quick enough to protect your workers.

First Aid Template

You will find a first aid and CPR template here. This template will help you navigate your business to help you document potential risks, ensure first aid kits are updated and ensure first aid training is updated. For those restaurants that choose Option 2, it also provides a list of questions to answer to demonstrate that your facility is within close proximity to a medical facility.



Rev. 8/24/17


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

View the Table of Contents

Categories: HERO