5 First Aid issues for Brushcutter / Strimmer Operators
5 First Aid issues for Brushcutter / Strimmer Operators. The safe and correct use of brushcutters, strimmers and hedgetrimmers is covered in a number of industry specific courses, however these only focus on the use of the machinery and not what to do if there is an accident. In this article we will highlight some of the potential injuries that may occur and the critical first aid measures need to deal with immediate situations.
1 Eye injuries – pieces of vegetation and chippings are regularly thrown up and can be caught in the eye. Most of the time flushing or irrigating with clean water can remove this. If you have some drinking water in a bottle, then that will be clean enough to wash out an eye.
Once washed, if the casualty is still complaining there is something in the eye, its worth getting it checked out. There may be a small piece of grass or stick stuck on to the surface of the eye. You could go to A&E or a minor injuries clinic, but it may well be quicker and simpler to visit your high street optician who can take a look for you.
2 Hay fever – working amongst vegetation particularly in the spring and early summer can exacerbate hay fever amongst suffers and even those who don’t normally have hay fever can get watery sore eyes and a sore throat. Always wash your hands and face after strimming and wash you clothes too, it all helps to remove the pollen.
Also antihistamines are useful to combat the effects of hay fever, take advice from your local pharmacist on what to take and beware that some can make you very drowsy.
3 Cuts and abrasions – clean and cover all cuts and abrasions. Again using tap water is fine or clean with an antiseptic wipe from your first aid kit. All cuts should be covered with a plaster or larger dressing to prevent infection.
4 Giant hogweed – a very nasty plant if you come across it. It is dangerous to strim as sap from its stem and leaves can cause serious burns. Take advice from our Giant Hogweed blog.
5 Sunshine – Yes this is a hazard for those who work in the outdoors, maybe less so for those using brushcutters as they would normally be covered up, but remember to protect your eyes. See our blog on sunshine and eye injuries. Also make sure you stay hydrated, all that protective equipment can get pretty hot!
Prevention is so much better than cure!
You hear this all the time, but it is true. Use your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as it will prevent many of the potential injuries (big and small) listed above. You should certainly be considering the following-
- Ear protectors
- Steel toecap boots
- Snag proof outer clothing
PPE may vary according to your risk assessment for the site you are working on.
Remember to have a good first aid kit handy on your site of work and know how to use its contents!
+F is a generic term mean ‘+ Forestry operations’. These courses are also relevant to many outdoor workers, especially brushcutter and strimmer users employed in the agriculture or horticulture sectors, landscaping and grounds maintenance, gillies and stalkers, plus fencing and machinery contractors.
Our First Aid +F courses build on the skills from Emergency First Aid at Work or First Aid at Work first aid training to provide scenario based, practical first aid skills and knowledge. These courses are some of the best in the industry and include dealing with catastrophic bleeding, crushing injury, Lyme disease, hypothermia and Emergency Action Planning. These courses have been developed to comply with Forestry Commission +F as per the “First Aid at Work – Forestry Commission Policy” and fit with FISA best practice.
First Aid Training Co-operative has also developed a digital first aid manual, which can be downloaded to your phone or tablet so it is available to you where ever you are. This is a specialist first aid manual for those working in outdoor remote environments. If you operate in remote locations this means your first aid manual is always in your pocket.