Have you checked your first-aid kit?

By Niels de Hoop / Louisiana Logger


What’s in a First-Aid Kit?

A first-aid kit is something that sits quietly off to the side — until we need it. Then, we expect it to be prominent, clean, up-to-date and fully stocked.


By OSHA regulations, all job sites in all industries must have a first-aid kit appropriate in size to the number of people on the worksite. However, because loggers work dangerous careers in remote areas, first-aid kits and training on logging sites must be better.


Each logging job site must have the following:


1. Loggers First-Aid kit;


2. Blood-borne Pathogen kit;


3. Smaller first-aid kit in each vehicle.


"A first-aid kit is something that sits quietly off to the side — until we need it. Then, we expect it to be prominent, clean, up-to-date and fully stocked."

Loggers First-Aid Kit At a minimum, the following items must be in a first-aid kit on a logging site:


1. Gauze pads (at least 4-by-4 inches).


2. Two large gauze pads (at least 8-by-10 inches).


3. Box adhesive bandages (Band-Aids).


4. One package gauze roller bandage at least 2 inches wide.


5. Two triangular bandages.


6. Wound cleaning agent such as sealed moistened towelettes.


7. Scissors.


8. At least one blanket.


9. Tweezers.


10. Adhesive tape.


11. Latex gloves.


12. Resuscitation equipment such as resuscitation bag, airway or pocket mask.


13. Two elastic wraps.


14. Splint.


15. Directions for requesting emergency assistance.


Obviously, these items are the minimum. I recommend having additional splints, large pads, triangular bandages and blood-clotting powder.


For splints, the wire mesh type that can be bent into any shape often work the best. Feminine hygiene pads work well for additional large pads — some of them were originally developed by the military for bullet wounds. If dealing with a broken arm or leg, you will likely need at least three triangular bandages. Rope or string can be substituted, but triangular bandages lie flat and work better.


Clotting powder packs have proven very valuable to the military and can be found now among first-aid supplies. Larger quantities can be found in hunting dog supply stores and feed stores.


Of course every accident is different, so we need to adapt to the needs. One time, I treated a badly broken ankle. We had several types of splints available, but we tossed them all and used multiple layers of bath towels, held firm with plenty of rope.


A blood-borne pathogen kit should be kept close to the first-aid kit. This kit protects the person giving the help. It contains a face mask to prevent blood or other fluids from splattering into the eyes, mask, gloves and apron. It also contains material to clean up bodily fluid spills.


All worksites must have a Blood-borne Pathogen Program, of which the kit is only a small part. We’ll reserve this topic for a future article.


Vehicles — Each vehicle must also have a first-aid kit. OSHA regulations are less specific, but the $20 first-aid kits sold in local stores typically work here. This means log trucks, chip trucks, crew trucks and service trucks. Also, anyone who works away from the set should have some sort of small personal first-aid kit — felling sawhands and cutter operators come to mind.


Be sure that someone checks the first-aid kits regularly. Most items in the kit have expiration dates. The summer heat can take its toll on first aid supplies.


First-aid training is as important as the first-aid kits. On logging sites, all personnel must be trained in first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The standard Red Cross First-aid/CPR class is considered adequate by OSHA. Pay attention to the expiration date on your card. The training is typically valid for one to three years.


There are other aspects we need to consider before emergencies happen — the blood-borne pathogens plan, training, having designated first-aid attendants, what to do before, during and after emergencies, etc. The OSHA regulations that pertain directly to logging can be found at www.osha.gov. In the search line, enter 1910.266. This is the set of regulations (CFR) that apply to logging and they are written in readable English. The first-aid kit is spelled out in Appendix A.


(C.F. “Niels” de Hoop is an Associate Professor at the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, LSU AgCenter. Contact: cdehoop@lsu.edu; 225-578-4242. His continuing research on logging accidents is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire-Stennis project LAB94417.)

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