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Ohio State University Extension


First on the Scene for Trainers and Supervisors

Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: Develop crisis intervention skills.

Trainer’s Note

Those who are first on the scene of an incident play a critical role. For this module:

  • Present the information below on what to do when you are first on the scene.
  • Have workers give examples of their own experiences as first on the scene; relate your experiences, too.
  • Review the important points.
  • Have workers take the True/False quiz to check their learning.


When an injury happens in the green industries, rescues are often more difficult:

  • Equipment is very rugged. Standard rescue equipment, such as hydraulic rescue tools and metal-cutting saws, easily remove automobile pieces but may not work on more solidly built machinery.
  • The incident scene may be in a remote location.
  • Access to the scene may be poor.
  • Rescue workers may not be familiar with green industry operations.

When You Are First on the Scene

Intervention should never endanger the rescuer or bystanders, or put the victim in more grave danger. If possible, put an emergency phone number in speed dial. Or post emergency phone numbers near all phones. A local volunteer fire department or emergency rescue squad member would be an ideal trainer.

  • Designate a leader. A worker who has had first-aid training or the senior worker should assume leadership. This person should direct the rescue until the emergency squad arrives and should update the squad on treatment administered.
  • Assign a specific person to call for help. The ambulance dispatcher will need to know the location and condition of the scene (muddy, steep, rough), type of equipment involved in the accident, number of victims, and the extent of their injuries.
  • Assess the rescue situation. Evaluate the situation and develop an escape plan. Stabilize equipment to minimize the chance of collapse or further injury. Know the limitations of the helpers and available equipment.
  • Establish a hazard zone. Only the rescuers should be in the area. Keep all others out of danger and out of the way. The scene may contain hazards such as fire, toxic or flammable gases, chemicals, pesticides, and structural damage.
  • Provide emergency first aid. Restore breathing and circulation, if necessary. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to related pressure points. Administer any additional first-aid treatment.
  • Provide ventilation. In a confined space, the victim may need clean fresh air—for example, in an injury during pesticide application inside a greenhouse.
  • Stay calm. Calm the victim by keeping one rescuer near the victim at all times.
  • If amputation occurs: Locate the appendage and wrap it in a moist towel. Keep it on ice, but do not let it freeze. If the appendage is in pieces, send each piece to the hospital as it is found.

Review These Important Points

  • Appoint a worker to lead until the emergency squad arrives.
  • Call for emergency help as quickly as possible.
  • Assess the situation and start first aid.
  • Establish a hazard zone.
  • Locate any appendage and transfer to the care unit.

About These Modules
The author team for the training modules in the landscape and horticultural tailgate training series includes Dee Jepsen, Program Director, Agricultural Safety and Health, Ohio State University Extension; Michael Wonacott, Research Specialist, Vocational Education; Peter Ling, Greenhouse Specialist; and Thomas Bean, Agricultural Safety Specialist. Modules were developed with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number 46E3-HT09.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Labor.

Answer Key

1. T

2. T

3. T

4. T

5. T


Quiz: First on the Scene



True or False?

1. Someone should take the leadership of the rescue activity as soon as possible.     T      F

2. If additional help is needed, do not hesitate to call.     T      F

3. After locating a missing appendage, wrap it in a moist towel and place it on ice.     T      F

4. Plan the rescue and then take action.     T      F

5. One rescuer should remain with the victim at all times.     T      F

Originally posted May 25, 2018.