Job Site Incident: Responding to Trauma Emergencies

Incidents, or unplanned events that may result in human injury or property damage, are an unfortunate consequence of tree work. It does not have to be this way and we must strive every day to minimize the possibility, but still incidents occur at a much higher rate than experienced in many other professions.

The majority of our non-fatal injuries are due to trauma incidents. Trauma is described as injuries from physical forces applied to the body. Two of the most-  common trauma-related injuries are due to being cut by a chain saw or struck by a falling limb. OSHA requires that first-aid training programs be designed for the specific injuries that may occur for an occupation or work site, so trauma is an area to which our first-aid training has to pay particular attention.

The specific injuries to be covered include:

•           Bleeding (internal and external and includes punctures and amputations)

•           Burns (particularly electrical burns)

•           Chest (pneumothorax and flail chest)

•           Face and neck (this includes eye and teeth injuries)

•           Musculoskeletal (includes sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures)

•           Environmental (exposure to cold or heat)

A training session that attempts to cover all these items and more can take a considerable amount of time, clearly more than a few hours, so expect a course to take at least the better part of a day.

But while you are searching for the perfect first-aid training that will address this injury list in a timely manner, you can find the general first-aid guidelines in The Arborist First Responder Field Guide, published by the Tree Care Industry Association.

It is a very informative training manual featuring a collection of first-aid related articles written by Dr. John Ball, CTSP, and Megan Johnson.

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