Forestry workers urged to sign up for safety event

The Health and Safety Executive [HSE] has teamed up with the Forestry Commission’s Learning and Development team to host a Safety and Health Awareness Day in the Midlands dedicated to raising awareness of important health and safety issues specific to the forestry industry.

Developed in partnership with the industry, the event, at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, on 18 March, is targeted at all involved in forest operations – from forestry work managers to site supervisors, to those actually carrying out the work. Attendance on the day is free.

Trainers who have years of experience working in forestry will cover issues relating to the use of forestry machinery and forestry chainsaw work, directional felling including the use of hydraulic wedges and bottle jacks, hand-arm and whole body vibration, and public access issues.

At these events, scenarios, demonstrations and discussions are based on situations that have led to serious incidents in the past.  Risks are examined and common sense solutions are identified that can and should be applied on site.

HSE staff will also be present to discuss any issues delegates want to raise and to offer general health and safety advice.

HSE Inspector Iain Sutherland commented:

“HSE has been running forestry safety days with the Forestry Commission for a number of years now and those that have taken part have always found it to be a half day well spent. People have appreciated the practical approach of the trainers and the skills they’ve picked up. They’ve also welcomed the opportunity to discuss issues with trainers, other foresters and inspectors from HSE.

“On the day, the focus will be on the higher risk activities that are responsible for the majority of serious injuries that people suffer in the forests, injuries that just keep happening time and time again only to different people in different locations. The Forestry Commission trainers will be demonstrating the sensible and practical precautions that should be taken and that can make a significant difference to people’s safety.

People will also be encouraged to challenge unsafe practices when they come across them, irrespective of who’s involved. Everyone in forestry has a part to play in making the industry a safer place to work and refusing to accept dangerous ways of working will help to improve the industry’s record and ensure that more people get through their working days without injury.”

Forestry is still one of the most dangerous occupations in Great Britain. In the last 10 years, 38 people have been killed whilst undertaking treework. In forestry alone, in the five years up to March 2012, there was an average of 10.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers. This represents a fatality rate which is three times higher than construction and 15 times higher than all industries. It is also estimated that in the same period 6,600 people were injured, many seriously.

The SHAD will comprise two identical sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Attendance is limited to 50 per session and places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

For further information or to book a place or places at this event, (indicating whether you wish to attend the morning or afternoon session) please e-mail Friday, 7th March 2014.  Applications will be confirmed upon receipt.


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Similar events focussing on forestry, arboriculture and the woodworking industries have been run over the last few years. They have been particularly successful in attracting small businesses to learn of the health and safety risks they face every day at work.

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