Businesses and consumers in the USA now are being offered access to QuikClot, a haemostatic bandage designed to stop bleeding that until recently was used mainly by the military to save soldiers’ lives on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

QuikClot is a mesh bag made of a porous fabric that contains tiny beads of a mineral called Zeolite. When QuikClot comes into contact with a bleeding wound, the Zeolite acts as a molecular sieve, rapidly absorbing smaller water molecules from the blood.

Larger platelets and clotting factor molecules remain in the wound in a highly concentrated form – a process that promotes rapid natural clotting and prevents severe blood loss, the company says.

When placed on a wound, QuikClot is claimed to stop even venous and arterial bleeding in as little as five minutes.

HSE warns it will prosecute for first aid breaches.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive has warned companies it will prosecute in workplace accident cases where there is a significant safety risk, a disregard for established standards or persistent poor compliance with the law.

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

The regulations apply to all workplaces including those with fewer than five employees – and to the self-employed.

What is ‘adequate and appropriate’ will depend on the circumstances in the workplace, HSE says, including whether trained First-Aiders are needed, what should be included in a first-aid box and if a first-aid room is required.

Employers are told to carry out an assessment of first-aid needs (which can done through managed first aid providers) to determine what is required.

While the regulations do not place a legal duty on employers to make any first aid provision for non employees such as the public, HSE recommends that non-employees are included in an assessment of first aid needs and that provision is made for them.