A SERIES of first aid courses designed to cut accidents and fatalities on county farms has been launched.

The events are aimed at improving the farming industry’s poor health and safety record.

Figures show the UK agricultural sector is one of the most high-risk industries to work in, with 32 farm workers killed during 2018/19.

Held at Borderway Mart in Carlisle by rural firm H&H Group, the inaugural ‘first aid for farmers’ course was over-subscribed.

Colin Lindsay, best known for his work with Capontree Veterinary Practice at Brampton and Longtown, led the course, which was delivered by qualified doctors and paramedics along with student paramedics from Cumbria University.

The course, attended by 30 people from the farming community, included real-life scenarios such as the treatment of crush injuries from quad bike accidents or being trampled by cattle; severe bleeding due to amputation or impalement on equipment such as baler

spikes; and how to assess non-responsive casualties.

Mr Lindsay, a non-executive director of H&H, said: “We covered a whole range of scenarios using real farm equipment to aid the appearance of a real-life experience from primary survey to emergency treatment.

None of the content was for the light-hearted - we covered conscious and unconscious patients, impalement, a fall from a height with suspected spinal injury, CPR with and without a defibrillator, dealing with crushing injuries that may require amputation and how to treat head trauma.

“As well as these more serious situations, we also walked through common accidents which happen on farms. It was quite hard-hitting as we were role playing scenarios that could not be fixed with a simple sticking plaster.”

The practical sessions were rotated around relevant farm equipment provided by Carrs Billington and Johnston’s Tractors.

All the first aid kits used were created specially for farms through a company which provides advice and kits for expedition use and battlefield scenarios.

The contents included an Israeli bandage, an army field dressings tourniquet and regular bandages.

In addition, guidance was given on useful apps that can be download to

your phone including ‘what3words’ which provides your GPS location to the call-handling services, as well as the potential to access the camera on your phone.

Colin added: “By the end of the training we wanted attendees to feel confident about how to stabilise the patient and correctly use the kit, whilst waiting for the emergency services.

“First Aid for Farmers is extremely hands-on. We have selected a variety of scenarios, delivered by casualty actors and agreed following consultation with paramedics who have attended various accidents on farms.

“This course really offered the cutting edge of first aid and support for farmers.

“The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require all employers to provide first aid equipment and facilities in the case of injury or illness at work and a first-aider, but it is a grey area as to what it means to the farming community.

“This is why this course is so unique and highly sought-after as it addressed these questions head-on.”

At the end of the course, all of those who attended received a certificate in first aid and were provided with access to the app for their farm, which will aid them in emergency situations.

Colin concluded: “We saw such a good turn-out to the course, which demonstrates that the industry is keen to minimise risk and to utilise modern technology to do this.

“Having the know-how as well as the technology to support can have a massive impact on reducing serious injury on farms.

“A similar initiative in Sweden halved mortality rates, so this course has the potential to have a significant impact by saving lives.”

Following the success of this first aid course, which received 100 per cent feedback recommending the course and trainers, H&H Group will be rolling out a series of similar events across its area throughout 2020.

Agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatal injury (per 100,000) of the main industrial sectors. It is 18 times as high as the average rate across all industries.

During 2018/19, nearly half of the agricultural workers killed were over the age of 60, but two young children were also killed.

Dr Andrew Turner, acting head of agriculture at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “HSE’s current programme of inspections to review health and safety standards on farms is taking place across the country.

“The inspections continue to look at whether risks are being appropriately managed in relation to machinery, working from height, children on farms and livestock.

“HSE’s recent statistics act as a reminder that death, injuries and cases of ill health are not an inevitable part of farming.

“More information on what

topics HSE will be looking at when our inspectors visit farms can be found in our What a Good Farm

Looks Like guide.”