Worker wellness: Fact First Aid

Training to survive


The injuries associated with logging are rarely minor! There is no such thing as a small chainsaw wound. Commonly we see crush injuries to both the limbs and the body, head injuries, spinal injuries, and also chainsaw wounds.” Strong words from Samantha Baxendale who, together with her husband David operates FACT First Aid, tailored to the forestry industry.


As an integral part of the trauma call team at Gisborne Hospital and both Emergency Care instructors and Anaesthetic technicians, they witnessed a number of forestry-related traumas that “could have been managed better at the scene”.


“We’re regularly part of the trauma call-out team and some of the things we were noticing commonly with forestry accidents were lots of bleeding injuries from crushes or chainsaw injuries and nobody was applying tourniquets or using haemostatic dressings. This all stemmed back to the first aid training that was happening,” says Sam.


She looked into the training forestry workers were receiving and was shocked that the normal approach to first aid was to complete a unit standard course. David, who has a strong background in military medical training, says though first aid courses are “really good” they don’t cater towards one specific industry: “It’s like a one-size-fits-all situation with all the courses that are out there – the major trauma and crush injuries are not covered. If you have an arterial bleed, a basic course is not going to help you. Forestry takes place in a hostile environment. It’s wet, it’s hilly, it’s full of obstacles, it’s full of natural hazards.”


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