work-site safety inspections. The Wash- ington-based non-profit, representing nearly 270,000 companies and 30 mil- lion professionals around the world, works with experts in a given field to create industry-specific safety and oper- ational standards. For the tree care industry, ANSI pub- lished the Z133, or as Ball called it, “The Z.” The nearly 90-page guide out- lines precautions for everything from electrical hazards to basic equipment usage to tree climbing, but, according to the experts, the main thing to take away from the guide in terms of first aid is training. In the brief section on emergency procedures and readiness, Z133 advises: • Instructing all workers in emergency response procedures, including emergency phone numbers like 911; • Instructing all workers on iden- tifying, preventing and treat- ing injuries from common poisonous plants, stinging or biting insects and other pests at work sites; • Training employees in emergency response and rescue procedures for specific tasks, and to recognize such hazards; and • For field crews of two or more, at least two workers should be trained in first aid and CPR, or only one trained person needs to be available if all new employees are trained in first aid within three months of their hiring dates. Again, everything falls back on training. Ball, who was one of the advisers for Z133, says people oen think of a first aid kit as a “magic box,” which is why the ANSI guide stresses training. “There’s no point in having a first aid kit if people aren’t trained to use it,” he says. p Daniel Terrill is a writer, editor, and jour- nalist best known for his work covering the gun and outdoor industries. His work has appeared in a variety of niche news publications like Task & Purpose, Android Police, Guns.com, and more. He lives in suburban Chicago.
WORKFORCE The OSHA regulation also requires that an employer stock enough supplies to support the workforce, and says its list will cover a team of two or three. Accord- ing to the experts, the best practice is to store a kit in each work truck with the assumption there are two or three peo- ple in each truck. TRAINING When researching the topic of what to include in a first aid kit, suggestions in- clude an automated external defibrillator (AED). Stice says the problem with a sug- gestion like that is it requires more ad- vanced medical training to successfully administer—more so than a basic first aid and CPR course includes. Therefore, if a tree care company wants or needs to in- clude one, they should provide adequate training and certification along with it. ADDITIONAL ITEMS Besides some redundancies, experts recommend packing two relatively sim- ple items. The first is a biohazard bag to safely store biohazardous waste such as bloody gloves and used gauze to prevent contamination. Second is a small can of oxygen with a rebreather mask. Stice says it’s great for treating people for shock, but adds that training is required so crew members know how to use it. 4. INSPECT WEEKLY AND RESTOCK AS NEEDED Because workers might dig into the first aid kit independently for relatively mi- nor issues, a best practice is to inspect first aid kits on a weekly basis. During inventory to see what’s there and what’s missing, it’s important to pay attention to expiration dates. Although items like bandages will likely still be effective af- ter expiration, Stice says they will be out of spec and therefore non-compliant. To simplify things, a common practice is to secure the first aid kit with a zip tie. That way, inspectors can quickly and painlessly verify that the first aid kit hasn’t been used and is still fully
stocked. Before employing that tactic, however, Stice suggests considering the rate of incident and how well-trained the crew is. “A zip tie is not a bad idea, but it could pose an issue in an emergency,” he says, because it prevents immediate access to the kit, forcing crew to cut it open to use it. Both experts also agree that a good hab- it to get into is to immediately replace items aer they’ve been used—a motto of “one out and one in.” It’s especially important for vital first aid supplies like tourniquets. Doing this alongside week- ly checks will ensure that the kit is al- ways in good supply. 5. CLIMBERS GET THEIR OWN GEAR Without a doubt, crew members work- ing alo have the highest risk of injury because they’re not just using a chain- saw, they’re doing it from an elevat- ed position away from the rest of the crew. Both experts agree that climbers should be equipped with an individual first aid kit (IFAK) that includes a trau- ma pad and tourniquet. The reasoning is if they’re injured, first aid could be immediately applied. Either they apply it themselves as they wait for help or a teammate could immediately administer it without running back to grab the kit. 6. WHEN IN DOUBT, FOLLOW THE Z Now, a tree care company could for- go ANSI standards and just comply with OSHA regulations, but OSHA of- ten defaults to ANSI guidelines during The most common non-fatal injuries are lacerations, sprains and fractures. In terms of first aid supplies, the kit needs tourniquets and splints.
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