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First aid within the agricultural sector

Is your farm prepared should the worse ever happen?

Workers within the agricultural sector are part of a very high risk occupation. Most people can work up to seven days a week with no hourly restrictions. Individuals within the sector have constant exposure to a wide range of potentially serious and occasionally life threatening injuries.

How dangerous is working in the agricultural sector?

Around 430,000 people work within the agricultural sector, which includes farming and use of the countryside. This equates to less than 1.5% of the actual working population. Despite it's low percentage, it has one of the highest fatality rates of all industries. Responsible for 15-20% of all deaths to British workers each year.

People within the sector will be working with livestock, dangerous machinery, chemicals, poisons, vehicles and possibly firearms. This leads to workers facing many serious risks on a daily basis, these risks include; severe bleeding, crush injuries and exposure to noise, dust and extreme weather - cold, high humidity and radiation from direct and prolonged exposure to the sun (all of which impose stress on the individual). They will also be working through hours of darkness, which would exacerbate any first aid incident.

Agricultural Sector

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness statistics states that each year within the agriculture sector there are 13,000 non-fatal illness reported. Most of these being musculoskeletal disorders (back pain, sprains or strains), and 14,000 non fatal injury reports over the same period, the main causes of these being slips, trips and falls. There were 33 reported fatalities in 2014 and a total of 160 fatal accidents between 2010-2015.

Farms are so far from professional help

Many farms are family businesses and this obviously adds to the stress of an incident. As it is likely that it will potentially involve family members or friends. Due to the remoteness of farms from city centres and hospitals, any injury or accident may have a prolonged period of time before the emergency services can arrive. In many rural communities it may be well over 20 minutes. Making it vital that people are on hand with knowledge and equipment to deal with any potential injury. Allowing individuals to provide lifesaving care to the injured patient.

An immediate and proper examination/treatment of injuries may save a life. It will also be essential to reduce pain and help injured people make a quicker recovery. To neglect or inefficiently treat an apparently trivial injury could then lead to infection and ill health.

Remember, any visiting workers to your property such as lorry drivers or vets are also at risk. You have a duty to make sure they are safe when they are on your premises or farm.

Prepare your farm for potential emergencies or accidents?

Whilst you can try to reduce risk, it is impossible to wholly mitigate the potential for accidents to happen. 

Find or build a suitable and fully stocked first aid kit, including any items that may be needed on site, and remember to restock the kit after use and to replace expired items annually. What is appropriate for you will depend on the nature of your business and the types of incident that may happen. You can always speak to one of our dedicated team for advice or check out for options.

Apply for a suitable first aid and CPR course, having a number of certified first aiders on site is vital. You can contact the British Red Cross or a local emergency service/hospital. They will be able to locate a suitable course in your area.


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