My workplace is in the UK and I'm the first-aider. There's no company policy which stops us from keeping burn cream (e.g. savlon), but HR have voiced concerns about potential legal issues, so I've offered to look into it, but I've had trouble finding a clear yes/no on the issue.

Basically I can't prove there's a legal reason to keep savlon in the first aid kid, but I can't disprove it either.

Does anyone know where I can verify that it's legal (or illegal)?

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    I know that the UK has different laws about what types of medication can be kept at the office. If this gets closed or you don't get a good answer here, I would also try asking at Law.
    – David K
    Feb 21, 2019 at 16:48
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    What are the potential legal issues that they voiced?
    – sf02
    Feb 21, 2019 at 16:48
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    What sources do HR have? Or quote? If they don’t have any and especially if they are not medically qualified should you act on your professional knowledge and experience... have you contacted a paramedic as to whether they carry similar products as a “first responder”?
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 21, 2019 at 16:50
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    Say, are you working at the company in the other question, where the employees throw coffee at each other after teasing episodes? :)
    – Fattie
    Feb 21, 2019 at 16:59
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    It does tend to be the case that medication isn't allowed because of the risks of allergies, but this is company-specific policy (because of the risk of a lawsuit if you're treating someone and they have a reaction) rather than law. fitforwork.org/blog/first-aid-kits-in-the-workplace-bs-8599-1 covers recommendations and the first Q&A is about burn cream, but I'm not sure how reliable it is as a source so I'm reluctant to post as an answer. Feb 21, 2019 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


You can, but it's probably better that you don't

It tends to be the case that medication is discouraged because of the risks of allergies - Aspirin and NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, for example, can cause severe reactions in some people.

Savlon does have some allergy warnings ( see https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6330/smpc ) so this would be a potential risk, and if you were to treat someone with it and trigger an allergic reaction then it might be grounds for a lawsuit (NB: I am not a lawyer).

There is some information on recommended contents for a first aid kit here: https://fitforwork.org/blog/first-aid-kits-in-the-workplace-bs-8599-1/. Burn creams are not included in this list, but they do offer this advice on other items:

Workplace first aid kits can be complemented by other items that have been identified during a risk assessment, if necessary

So I would suggest that the need for burn cream would depend on the work environment.

Notably, the first question on that article concerns burn gels and the response states that they aren't normally necessary for treating burns except in rare circumstances such as chemical burns. It also links to the NHS advice for burns which is simply running water and clingfilm, and actually advises against creams ( https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/burns-and-scalds/treatment/ )

  • Nice answer.... and next time HR says something like that, best not to volunteer to look into it.
    – Kilisi
    Feb 21, 2019 at 17:39
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    In my formal first aid training (St Johns), it was made pretty clear that "potions and lotions" have no place in a workplace first aid kit. Stick to the advice in your training and you're legally covered. If in doubt, follow St Johns/NHS current (and published) advice.
    – user44108
    Feb 22, 2019 at 9:46
  • The British Health and Safety Executive says "It is recommended that you don’t keep tablets and medicines in the first-aid box". Feb 22, 2019 at 20:04

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