The highlight of the Steering Group (SG) meeting, for me, was near two hours taken on a round table discussion on current health & safety issues. Raising awareness and learning.
Among these were:
• Reports of increased timber haulage incidents in the past three months, with a likely factor being the drier conditions allowing vehicles to increase speed in the drier conditions.
• Six accidents on FES sites, ranging from fall from a quad bike where the driver’s helmet saved more serious injury; chain saw kick back under tension and slips & trips.
• Chain-shot injury reports were raised again due to a recent incident and further reference to a fatality in Ireland. FISA will be holding discussions with Oregon on chain design and use.
• FISA was updated on organisational changes impacting NRW and the response of staff to the challenges of operational safety compliance and learning.
• The issue of traction aid use on forest roads continues to concern members. FISA is raising awareness of these contractor concerns and over the consequences for safe working systems, with increasing restricted road access.
• The SG discussed the merits of the use of a Pre-Contract Safety Questionnaire, as an aid to open and wider communications, before timber price is agreed .
• We were reminded it was three years since the death of John Vickary. The accident report is still to be released.
HSE gave an update and highlighted their current focus on the Agriculture sector and planned 500 inspections to high-risk areas of activity this year, in response to a continued poor safety record. HSE have no plans to extend this level of inspections to forestry (yet) but as always the situation remains under review.
The FISA Strategic Plan will be circulated for member consultation before Autumn 2017, together with a summary of current Top Priorities.
FISA endorsed the AFAG ‘Chainsaw Project’ guidance note and will now use this document in our review of chainsaw working methods.
Governance & financial issues discussed, included subscriptions. An email has been sent to all members on 20 June explaining both the need for realignment of payment date, but also offering some additional support to the contracting sector, to ease the transition to 1 May billing for all.
The Board and SG composition will now be reviewed and recommendations made for September’s meeting. Nominations and voting will follow for some categories of SG membership, including further contractor places. We will also strengthen landowner representation, to help improve communications with timber growers and their advisors.
The Board will seek approval from the SG to post the minutes of the Steering Group meeting (in draft) prior to approval, on the website (members login area). Members will see the range of issues discussed in more detail. Many of the issues will be relevant to members and we also want feedback ... firstname.lastname@example.org We will let you know when the draft minute is available on the website.