First Class Aid + F

First Aid + F Forestry Course trainees

First Class Aid + F

Forestry Commission policy recommends those who work in the forestry industry should attend first aid training that covers topics relevant to the risk associated with their work. These include crush Injuries, catastrophic bleeding including chainsaw injuries, lightning & high voltage injuries. The First Aid + F courses are designed to do just that.

Neil Stoddart, the general manager of JST Services (Scotland) Ltd, was arranging a first aid course at Loch Gair Hotel in Argyll so I asked if I could tag along. He explained that the course was being run by CA First Aid and the trainer was from a military background. Part of the course would be based outdoors where we would have to re-enact dealing with casualties in a realistic setting. I was actually looking forward to attending, previous courses I had been on were not tailored to our industry and were a little dull and boring.

There was a good mix of people attending the course with employees from JST Services, Coille Haulage and Glennon Bros.

Stewart Richardson was hosting the course and after speaking to him it was reassuring to find out the courses he organises are specially designed for people involved in the forest industry. I asked Stewart where he had gained his experience and he was happy to give me a brief history of his background;

Stewart was a Section Commander in the Royal Engineers and after leaving he became a qualified Outdoor Instructor, Overseas Expedition Leader and a volunteer with the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team. He has first-hand experience of working in remote, hostile environments around the globe. He started forestry first aid in 2010 when Neil Stoddart asked him to provide training for his staff at the floating pier at Glenelg. Neil was looking for a course that was tailored to suit his staff’s requirements and to deal with the remoteness of sites in the Scottish Highlands. Stewart was already running First Aid at Work training courses so he brushed up on the Forestry Commissions First Aid policy and designed a unique course solely for the forest industry. The course takes into account the remote locations in which we work, while Stewart has included the use of emergency locator beacons, grid reference locators etc. These tools pinpoint the exact location and allows the emergency services to deploy the correct mode of transportation to rescue the casualty.

During the indoor morning session, we were all encouraged to share incidents and near misses we had experienced and how we dealt with them. Stewart’s courses are continually evolving thanks to the input of his trainees and he is committed to keeping abreast of all the latest guidelines by being a member of Confor and FISA. “To provide the best First Aid training possible to our clients, we had to first understand how the forest industry worked before we could offer them the specific package,” said Stewart “On our course, we focus on awareness by thought-provoking content. If we can make trainees aware of potential hazards and make forestry a safer industry to work in, then we are certainly moving in the right direction.”

The morning session lasted just over 3 hours and was a good mix of tuition, discussions and graphic images and videos of accidents and rescues. “The presentations of images and videos are not for entertainment value but to encourage thought provoking content which will hopefully make people think twice about the task they are about to perform” said Stewart. It certainly worked for me; I would never consider picking up my chainsaw now without all the
appropriate PPE. The film of the guy in hospital getting a broken chainsaw chain pulled through a large hole in his lower leg is not a image you can forget!

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Assessing the extent of the casualties injuries before deciding to treat him in 
situ or move him
Assessing the extent of the casualties injuries before deciding to treat him in
situ or move him
Serious crush injury
Serious crush injury

After lunch we set off down to the nearby JST Floating Pier at Ardmore Point where Stewart had set up a couple of casualties for us to deal with.

One casualty had been run over and was still trapped under the tracks of JST’s large Liebherr LH40 tracked timber loader. The second casualty had suffered serious leg wounds while exiting the cabin and was unable to get down from the machine.
What was good was that we had to think and work out for ourselves the best course of action for the casualties, with some guidance from Stewart when needed. One very important point to mention is that, apart from your first aid kit, the course shows you how to utilise what materials you have around you to preserve the life of casualties. It covers areas like how to construct a makeshift stretcher from your coat or jacket to move a casualty to a safer or more comfortable area.

I thoroughly enjoyed this course, I liked the fact that it was specifically designed for forestry people and dealt with incidents and events that are relevant to us. Stewart’s approach was “bang on” – he was interesting, informative and straight to the point.
I would have no hesitation in recommending anyone in need of first aid training to contact CA First Aid as I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Contact Stewart on 07872441906

This article first featured in the April 2018 Forest Machine Magazine.

Forest Machine Magazine is written and edited by a forest professional with over 40 years hands on experience. We are dedicated to keeping you informed with all the latest news, views and reviews from our industry.

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