Fenestration Review

FGIA: Why your company should invest in trauma response training

October 13, 2022  By Amy Roberts, FGIA director of Canadian and technical glass operations

When an injury accident occurs at a plant – especially one located away from urban areas where a hospital may not be nearby – being prepared for trauma response is crucial. Plant personnel must do what they can with what they have. Therefore, planning and training for injury response is important.

Personnel selected as emergency response team members must be able to switch roles in accident situations. They are possibly the victim’s only lifeline, so they are no longer the victim’s friend or co-worker. They must be able to keep their emotions in check and deal with the situation calmly. 

On-the-job trauma response training translates to off-the-job situations as well. Trainees have the opportunity to use the skills they have learned on the job in emergencies involving their friends and families.

Occasional refreshers, at least every six months, are important, because field medical skills, such as applying a tourniquet or administering CPR, are perishable. To accompany these skills, it is also critical to provide access to emergency equipment (professional-grade first aid kits outfitted with tourniquets, bandaging, gloves, blankets, etc.) throughout the facility, identified by appropriate signage. Not having these items in close proximity leads to longer lead times for appropriate response.

The most important goals in trauma response are to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and to provide stability over the time it takes for help to arrive and get the victim to a higher level of medical care.

Representatives of Independence Training demonstrated the basics of trauma response for FGIA Annual Conference participants last February. According to their experts, when an incident occurs, the first step is to implement life-saving measures identified by the acronym M.A.R.C.H. This method lays out injury assessment and treatment.

“M” is for massive hemorrhage. In these cases, ensure the patient is not bleeding to death from arterial wounds. The first priority is to stop the bleeding, for instance with a tourniquet. Learning to apply one is therefore critical. Note that tourniquets hurt when applied effectively and this does not indicate a mistake in application and does not mean you should remove it. Find the bleeding blood vessel and pack the immediate area with gauze or a similar absorbent material. Hold pressure for five minutes, then apply a secure bandage over the gauze to apply consistent pressure and secure the wound.

Next is “A” – airway. Confirm the patient has a clear airway. 

Check respiration. Determine if the patient is breathing evenly, without distress. Reposition the person or seal any penetrating traumas. Note, however, to only move the casualty if they are in immediate danger, further assessment or treatment is necessary, or treatment-related transportation is required.

Circulation means checking that the patient has and maintains a pulse. Here, CPR comes into play by making sure their circulatory system is up and running. Keep in mind that if CPR is started before any massive hemorrhaging is stopped, the airway is clear or respiration is steady, it will pump the blood out of the body faster.

Finally, watch for hypothermia, otherwise known as shock. Failure to maintain body core temperature is the number-one cause of patient loss. The margin is slim; there are only two degrees of variation before the body starts to go hypothermic. By the time the person’s temperature reaches 33 C, the body is shutting down. Patients can go hypothermic even when outside temperatures exceed 38 degrees, especially considering that many industrial facilities have cold concrete floors. 

Proper trauma response training in these M.A.R.C.H. basics has numerous benefits. From reducing job-related injuries and saving lives to identifying leaders and preserving productivity, the more employees know, the better prepared they are to handle traumatic situations. The team-building process identifies candidates for emergency response teams and provides leadership opportunities for team members to build confidence in themselves and each other. 

Join the FGIA Fenestration Safety Committee to learn more. It’s an investment in your company and your people. 

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