What to do if an accident happens at work
This week, we have taken the opportunity to demonstrate what good looks like and the simple steps that can be taken to adopt a better attitude to farming safely however there are occasions when things just go wrong…
Jill Arrowsmith, member of British Society for Surgery of the Hand, has treated many patients who have injured themselves in avoidable, and some unavoidable, accidents. These injuries can prevent people from getting back to work as they often require long recovery periods and careful work with hand therapists. Despite the risks, Jill says there are simple steps that those working on a farm can take to minimise their chances of getting hurt.
- • Use your common sense: wear protective gloves, keep children away from machinery and follow safety precautions. Additionally, general medical precautions like making sure your tetanus immunisation is up to date can make a big difference in preventing the spread of infection, if an accident does happen
• Being careful can reduce the likelihood of accidents but can’t stop them from happening entirely. When an incident occurs, it’s vital that you get the treatment needed and don’t just put on a brave face. If the injury has gone all the way through the skin – go to hospital
• At the scene, apply direct pressure to bleeding if possible, and hold your hand up above your head to help stop bleeding. Put your hand under a tap and run water to clean away any dirt, before wrapping your hand in a bandage or clean tea-towels. Try to keep your hand elevated above your head and get someone to take you to the hospital
• All farmyard wounds are more likely to be contaminated by the tetanus germ (bacteria). It is now recommended that you get an injection of tetanus immunoglobulin for additional protection after any such high risk wound
• The wound needs washing out and you will also need a course of antibiotics to cover other bacteria which will be contaminating the wound
• If there is any concern that there is an injury to the deep structures in your hand (tendon, nerves and bones), ask to be referred to a hand surgeon. You can discuss with your surgeon the best way to manage your injury and how long your hand function will be affected
• After any treatment, the best way to look after your hand is to prevent swelling, by strictly elevating your hand for three days after your operation, and to get moving as soon as possible – work with your hand therapist and push along as fast as your hand team will let you
• Look after your hand wound until the skin has healed – keep the wound protected and clean
The British Society for Surgery of the Hand brings together multidisciplinary specialists to ensure patients with injured and disordered hands receive the best possible care when and where they need it.