How does an employer determine the number of first aid stations in a workplace?

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees can access first aid expertise and supplies quickly and easily to help minimize the effects of the injury and promote rapid recovery. When deciding on the number of first aid stations, you need to take into consideration the layout of the work area(s) and the time that it would take an employee to access first aid assistance.

Considerations may include:

  • Number of floors in the building
  • Restricted access. Secured areas that are not open to all staff are additional work areas that will need their own first aid station and dedicated first aid responders.
  • Separation of work areas such as “office” and “warehouse” or “plant”.
  • Vehicles are separate “work areas” and should contain their own first aid kit.

We recommend using the “three minute rule” to assist in deciding how many stations are required and where they should be located. An employee should be able to access or provide first aid assistance within three minutes. In a worst case scenario, where a casualty is non-breathing, a response time greater than four minutes means the casualty will begin to sustain brain damage. The three minute rule allows for an additional minute of response time for extraordinary circumstances.


Click this link to download a copy of Ontario Regulation 1101 – First Aid Requirements
For more information on first aid kits, and supplies go to

St. John Ambulance is Canada’s leading authority in first aid and the preferred choice of employers for employee first aid training*. We receive many questions from employers looking to comply with Ontario First Aid Regulation 1101. Over the next few weeks, we will publish the answers to some of the questions that are asked most often. If you have any questions you would like us to respond to please send them to: [email protected].
*Innovative Research Study, August 2011