Your First Aid Certificate is out of date and you will have to attend a course for that tick in the Health and Safety Executive box. For some of you this is how you perceive your First Aid Training and also face the course with absolute dread. First Aid should not be death by Power-point or Snoozville, it should be interactive and engaging and more importantly provide you with the skills and knowledge to be confident when faced with an incident whether in or away from work. It also should be relevant.
The realisation of appropriate First Aid training for work industries or interests is becoming more apparent, especially for Hazardous Environments. One example of this is the Forestry Commission who in 2012 implemented the +F (plus Forestry) addition to the normal one day Emergency First aid at Work and three day First Aid at Work Course. This +F part of the course is expected to be completed for all Arborists and Contractors who will be working on Forestry Commission land.
‘People, wherever they work in our industry, can suffer injury or be taken ill. It is essential that we have first aid provision in place so that we can give them immediate attention and call an ambulance if needed. This guidance covers what you need to do to ensure that can happen. Proper first aid provision can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones.’ I would also add on here prevent major injuries becoming fatal.
‘Working with the principle of matching skills to your possible accidents/illnesses, for those working out on sites we recommend Managers/Contractors source training that can be delivered with a forestry context (ie sites remote from medical aid and where limited help will be available). You may also need add-on elements for special hazards (eg severe chainsaw cuts, crush injuries, hypothermia, Lyme disease). This training is referred to in this guidance as EFAW+F or FAW+F. Managers/Contractors should seek this training from their known providers where possible, but can contact their representative body or FC Safety Health and Environment for support. “+F” will be recognised when “forestry context” or “remote sites” or “+F” is noted on certificate or supporting correspondence.’
The Forestry Commission give an example of the +F areas they believe would be of benefit to your First Aid Training, these examples are- Severe Chainsaw Cuts, Crush Injuries, Hypothermia and Lyme Disease.
So with those +F modules in mind should this course just be encouraged for people working on Forestry Commission land or to all Arborists? Take a look at the hazards with in your work environment. You don’t have to be a loan worker or work in a remote area for this course to be relevant. Any additional training that provides you with skills to manage Catastrophic Bleeds, chest wounds, crush injury, to name a few life-saving skills, surely would be beneficial.
Maybe you think a cheaper course is the better option as you still get your certificate, or you have been doing this job for 20 years and have never had an accident. But why wait until after an incident to learn the appropriate skills and knowledge that could save a life. You don’t use a chainsaw first and then go for the training several months after (I hope) so why risk it with life-saving skills? The next time you book your First Aid Training course take a look around and choose a course that is appropriate and most beneficial for your hazardous work practice.