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Tourniquets and Trauma Dressings

Need help? Need help? Would you be prepared in the event of a critical bleed? Top-Rated UK Approved Emergency Trauma Dressings - Fast Delivery!

Specialist first aid equipment for bleeding will sometimes be called for by your workplace risk assessment. If this is the case and you do not have bleeding control products in place already, you might not be meeting your requirements under the Health and Safety Regulations 1981 and could be prosecuted.

Find out if this applies to your working environment, because if there is any elevated chance of severe bleeding then products to arrest blood flow should be kept in the vicinity. If you are involved in industries such as agriculture or construction, or anywhere heavy machinery is in use, this is likely to be the case.

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What are the different types of emergency bleeding control products and how are they used?

The regular items you would find in a first aid kit are generally not designed to stem the flow of traumatic bleeds such as arterial wounds, but there are a variety of specialist bleeding control dressings which have been designed expressly for this purpose. Seton offers commercial tourniquets, trauma dressings, haemorrhage control bandages and haemostatic gauze as options to deal with heavy bleeding. Read on below to discover more about each of these and when you would use each type. For first aid kit solutions or bleeding control stations which contain these products, and are ideal for placement in public areas, please see our range of trauma first aid kits.

What is a tourniquet and how do tourniquets work?

A tourniquet is a device which consists of a band to be tightened on an arm or leg bleed, in order to stop the flow of blood, and can be used when creating direct pressure by hand or with bandages is not enough. A blood pressure cuff is considered a tourniquet, and if you’ve ever had blood taken from a vein in your arm the nurse may have used a type of tourniquet above the elbow to help locate a vein. Tourniquets work by creating pressure on arteries and veins, slowing down the haemorrhaging before professional help can be sought.

When is a tourniquet used to control bleeding?

A tourniquet should be used on an arm or leg bleed:
  • When bleeding can’t be stopped by immediately applying elevation and direct pressure together

  • If you cannot maintain direct pressure to the wound for any reason

How effective are tourniquets?

In recent years the effectiveness of tourniquets has been reinforced by evidence of reduced mortality rates in war zones where they are used. Previously there was controversy surrounding loss of limbs but this is no longer the case. It is now widely accepted that the use of tourniquets to stop haemorrhaging is an important step in front line first aid.

Which type of tourniquet should you choose?

Seton offers a choice of tourniquets, each of which is best suited to particular circumstances. The Combat Application Tourniquet is standard issue among military services across the world and is also used by NHS ambulances. It can be self applied by the patient so it is ideal to give to remote or lone workers. The Smart Tactical Application Tourniquet has a timer to show medical professionals how long the tourniquet has been in place and is also suitable for use on children.

Haemorrhage Control Bandages and Haemostatic Dressings

Specially designed trauma dressings are available which combine a normal dressing with a way of controlling pressure on the wound. The emergency bandage or “Israeli dressing” combines a standard wound dressing with a built in pressure bar which can be used to apply and control direct pressure to the wound. Other trauma dressings are available with built in haemostatic agents which react with the blood to make it clot. The Celox Rapid dressing combines a gauze for packing the wound with a haemostatic agent for improved survival rates.

Guidance on haemostatic dressing and tourniquet training

HSE first aid guidance states that where there is a risk identified in the needs assessment, training in the use of how and when to apply a haemostatic dressing should be given to workplace first aiders. This guidance also recommends nominated first aiders are trained properly in the use of tourniquets where provided as standard in first aid kits, ensuring they are managed safely with the correct positioning and tightening.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations refer specifically to the training provision of tourniquets and haemostatic dressings in agriculture, forestry and construction sectors. It also suggests additional training in the events and hospitality industries, where there is a risk of injury to members of the public or staff from mass casualty incidents or terrorist attacks.