Smart Driving: Rendering aid

Max Kvidera | June 01, 2010

Knowing how to perform a few basic procedures will help you and your fellow drivers lead healthier lives

When Rick Hunter visits companies to lead trucking safety meetings, one of his favorite door prizes is a 16-item first-aid kit. While the focus has been on preventing “slips, trips and falls,” the director of loss control and safety for the Alabama Trucking Association Workers Compensation Fund wants to prevent all kinds of injuries.

“Truckers are always going to get skinned knuckles, cut fingers, splinters — so we try to work with them to make their jobs more comfortable,” Hunter says.

Hunter acknowledges that, among truckers, basic first aid often gets overshadowed by broken bones, knee sprains, pulled ligaments and other injuries suffered on the job. But it’s the burns, cuts, insect bites and sunburns that can make life miserable behind the wheel.

Hunter says the key injuries or medical problems truckers need to be able to treat on the road include hand cuts and scrapes, burns, sun exposure and insect bites. “It’s important to recognize you have a cut that requires a bandage and antibiotic cream or that it may require stitches,” he says.

Hunter adds that personal hygiene, including hand washing, may help prevent minor wounds from getting infected if left untreated.

Hunter says first-aid training such as a CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) course would be important for truckers, but lack of time and opportunity makes it difficult for most. A procedure such as the abdominal thrust, formerly known as the Heimlich maneuver, for dislodging food from a victim’s throat (see sidebar, this page), though, can be demonstrated in a company safety meeting.

A basic first-aid kit costs $25 or less at a drug store or online and has items to help treat several common ailments or injuries.


Kit components

This 85-piece trucker first aid kit includes bandages, gauze pads, tape, ointment, a first-aid guide and eye-care products in a plastic case with gasket. It costs about $25 online at (click “Trucker First Aid Kits”).

You also can buy first aid kits in drug stores or assemble one yourself.

Included in the CPR kit are:

• (1) 2-in. x 4.1-yd. gauze roll bandage

• (1) 4-in. x 5-in. instant cold compress

• (2) Sterile eye pads

• (6) 2-in. x 2-in. gauze dressing pads

• (4) 3-in. x 3-in. gauze dressing pads

• (1) 4.5-in. scissors, nickel plated

• (1) 0.5-in. x 10-yd. first aid tape roll

• (1) Eye wash, 4 oz.

• (1) Alcohol cleansing pads, 10 in box

• (1) Antiseptic cleansing wipes (sting free), 18 in box

• (1) 1-in. x 3-in. fabric bandages, 16 in box

• (1) 5 knuckle, 5 large fingertip fabric bandages

• (1) Exam gloves, 1 pair in box

• (1) Triple antibiotic ointment packs, 10 in box

• (1) Rescue Breather CPR one-way valve faceshield, 1 in box

• (1) 96 page AMA First Aid Guide booklet

Kit dimensions: 9-1/16 in. x 6-5/16-in. x 2-3/8-in.

Beyond the essentials, you might want to add non-prescription drugs such as aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, laxative, antacid and petroleum jelly or other lubricant. Items such as tweezers, sterile gloves, eyewash solution and thermometer might be helpful.

Also, don’t forget to pack your prescription medicines. Check your kit every three months to replace supplies that have expired.

Days Lost to Injury and Illness

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