FAQs – First Aid on Farms

An image of the rural tranquillity and beauty of farming is a powerfully persuasive one that is commonplace in much of our culture.

However, the reality of 21st century farming in the developed world is usually a thousand miles away from the imaginary utopia of a pseudo-19th century backdrop.

Today’s farms are largely production facilities with, for example, significant amounts of farm machinery in use. Almost inevitably where you have human beings and powerful moving machinery in close proximity, accidents happen and that’s why the following FAQs on first aid for farmers might be important to you.

Please note that nothing below should be read as qualified first aid medical advice.

What sort of first aid training should people working on farms have?

There are first aid training courses designed with farming personnel specifically in mind.

What they might cover may vary slightly from one course to another but they will all certainly include basics such as how to respond to:

  • Coronary and circulatory emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes etc.
  • Electrocution
  • Crushing or cutting injuries, including blood loss
  • CPR
  • Wound dressing
  • Choking
  • Etc.

How much basic first aid equipment should I have on-site?

That depends very much upon the size and nature of your farm, the first-aid skills you have available and the law.

Certainly no responsible farming business should be without a substantial and good quality first-aid kit sufficient to meet the minimum requirements of the law.

In other situations, it might be advisable to have on-site or easily accessible, things such as defibrillators, blankets and emergency oxygen. A healthcare professional will advise you about this on an approved course.

Should I always attempt first aid in a crisis?

Certainly if someone has suffered a sudden attack of illness or an accident, you should provide whatever assistance is appropriate for the circumstances. In essence, simply talking to reassure someone while waiting for an ambulance could be considered to be a form of first aid – assuming that was all that was required.

First aid training is all about recognizing the nature of the problem and the most appropriate actions to take pending the arrival of expert assistance. That can and does save lives.

Sometimes first aid training is also about teaching people when not to intervene but to wait for a qualified professional instead. For example, trying to get someone who has been injured to drink, whilst waiting for qualified medical assistance, might be ill-advised and possibly dangerous.

In some cases, apart from making the injured party comfortable, it may be more appropriate to do little or nothing and applying unnecessary or inappropriate first aid may actually make the position worse.

That expertise needs to be learned.

Why are there insurance issues involved?

If you have some form of professional agricultural insurance, there will probably be a clause requiring you to comply with all the legal obligations associated with your type of business.

So, for example, if you fail to provide minimum first aid facilities as required under law, you may be putting at risk elements of your professional insurance cover in certain circumstances.

However, this can be a complicated area. It would be sensible to speak to your insurance provider in order to obtain the full details of what they will expect you to provide, as a minimum, in the area of first aid facilities and trained staff, in order to meet the obligations inherent in your policy.