Practical emergency first aid demonstrations will take place on both days of the Midlands Machinery Show, in a bid to tackle farming’s alarming safety record.
“Someone dies on a UK farm every 10 days, which is both absolutely tragic and shameful,” said show organiser Elizabeth Halsall. “It’s high time that we do more as an industry to tackle our serious health and safety issues.
“That’s why we’re hosting practical first aid demonstrations alongside a drop-in nurse clinic offering blood pressure and health checks, and mental health and other support from the Farming Community Network.”
The demonstrations will be staged by safety and first aid specialist Singleton Training Services and the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC).
NAAC chairman James Bannister has a personal reason for supporting the initiative, having lost his left arm in a farm incident. “It was 1030am on Thursday 6 August 1998 and I remember standing alongside the potato harvester I was about to clean down between fields, chatting with a trailer driver workmate,” he said.
“My next memory is being dragged into the machine by the left arm, fighting for my life. As the elevator was just biting into my neck, the other driver stopped my tractor.
“Despite massive blood loss, I remained conscious throughout. It took more than two hours for fire and rescue, and ambulance crews to get me out, with a surgeon alongside ready to amputate. I’d been operating that harvester for five years and knew full well what I should do before cleaning down. But I’d become blasé, complacent, taking my own safety for granted.”
When workplace injuries do occur, they don’t come with an advance warning, emphasises Singleton Training Services principal Nigel Singleton. “The better trained and prepared you are, the less likely you are to be injured yourself, and the more capable you’ll be if needed to help an injured colleague.”
The live reconstructions will be based on emergency service procedures to illustrate the optimum order of priority for someone who discovers a seriously injured colleague:
- First, call 999.
- Before approaching the casualty, check the area carefully for your own safety.
- If a tractor is involved, apply the hand brake and stop the engine.
- Only then, check the casualty for a response, first verbally then a gentle shoulder nudge.
- If still no response, check for breathing with the back of your hand close to their nose and mouth, then the palm of your hand gently just below the ribcage.
- Call 999 again, update the call taker, and follow their advice.
With prevention in mind, NAAC has had the Assured Land-Based Contractor (ALBC) scheme since 2010, but this has no jurisdiction over farmer clients. Nigel Singleton wonders why farming doesn’t have an equivalent of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.
“The scheme’s purpose is to improve standards and safety on construction sites,” he explains. “Surely a similar training and exam-based Farming Safety Certification Scheme for farmers, employees and contractors, is worth serious consideration to tackle the industry’s alarming safety problem.”