What happened the last time you snagged yourself on that nail you meant to hammer in a bit, the one that’s right next to the light switch to the shed? Could you find your first aid kit quickly? Did it contain the right stuff — antiseptic spray, bandages? Was your tetanus shot up to date? Did you get any sympathy?!
Well, it was hardly a big deal. But maybe you were lucky. But it begs the question: Are you prepared?
Most farmers in Canada say safety is really important to them. They want to protect their families, their employees and themselves. A survey by Farm Credit Canada shows that eight out of 10 respondents practice many safety measures regularly, just not all the time. And nine out of 10 are interested in taking some sort of agricultural safety training. The most popular topic? First aid.
Throughout Canada, both St. John Ambulance and the Red Cross provide first aid courses useful in agricultural situations. Check them out at www.sja.ca and www.redcross.ca. Get proper first aid training or renew your former skills. Then you’ll know what to do with the stuff in those first aid kits you’ve probably already assembled and stashed around your operation.
Now’s a good time to take stock of those kits. Know what’s in each kit and how to use it. Set up scenarios and decide what you’d do. Always include emergency numbers on a card to contact an ambulance, hospital or fire department. Put in written directions about how to get to your farmstead, field or work area. Pack in matches, flares and a flashlight.
Make very certain there’s a useful first aid kit in every truck and building. Check them monthly and replace any item that’s missing. Keep all materials clean and sanitary. You’ll need to stock supplies in the kits according to the number of people you have working in any area on the farm.
Here’s a list of first aid contents and supplies recommended by Alberta Occupational Health and Safety. This the standard used by other industries for emergency first aid treatment. The list contains enough material for up to nine workers.
10 antiseptic cleansing towelettes, individually packaged;
25 sterile adhesive dressings, individually packaged;
10 10 centimetres x 10 centimetres sterile gauze pads, individually packaged;
2 10 centimetres x 10 centimetres sterile compress dressings, with ties, individually packaged;
2 15 centimetres x 15 centimetres sterile compress dressings, with ties, individually packaged;
2 conform gauze bandages, 75 millimetres wide;
3 cotton triangular bandages;
5 safety pins, assorted sizes;
1 pair of scissors;
1 pair of tweezers;
1 25 millimetres x 4.5 metres of adhesive tape;
1 crepe tension bandage, 75 millimetres wide;
1 resuscitation barrier device with a one-way valve;
4 pairs of disposable surgical gloves;
1 first aid instructional manual (condensed);
1 inventory of kit contents;
1 water proof waste bag.
Store each kit in a large waterproof bag with a visible label. And don’t forget to include the first aid chart or first aid manual you picked up at your first aid training course! PLAN. FARM. SAFETY.