A recent incident has occurred involving extreme unsafe felling practise on one of our sites. Thankfully this did not lead to any injury but it could easily have been fatal for the operator or others on the site.
The chainsaw operator had all their relevant tickets, was compliant with FISA refresher requirements and had worked on a Euroforest site before.
However, on this day, all the training was forgotten, and an attempt was made to fell trees that were leaning uphill, down the slope by domino felling. A total of five trees were cut and left in this dangerous state. When another contractor entered the risk zone to assist, one of the trees fell under its own momentum and he had to take evasive action.
The cutter was new on site that day and the FWM had not been informed of this. This meant that recognised procedure for new or returning contractors was not followed. They were set to work and no monitoring of their competence took place. Thankfully not many trees were cut before it became obvious that they were struggling. Felling was stopped and the trees were safely brought to ground.
This could easily have been a fatality.
Read the EuroForest Safety Notice
Chainsaw operator injured by trees sliding down steep ground - UPM Safety Alert
• When working on very steep ground consider the risk of trees, logs, rocks etc being dislodged above you and sliding/rolling down the hill toward you and plan work accordingly.
• Always use correct felling cuts and techniques, including debutressing trees.
• Consider the direction of felling and the potential influences on it, such as wind pressure.
• On sites that regular ambulance services will have difficulty reaching or extracting a patient from, ask for Mountain Rescue when dialling 999.
Mobile phone reception in the Highlands can often be intermittent or non-existent. If you are involved in an incident on the hill and need to call assistance but cannot make voice calls, you may now contact the 999 emergency services using a short messaging service (SMS) text from your mobile phone.
The service was originally set up in 2009 for people who are hard of hearing or who have a speech impediment. The service has been successful in helping identify crime and enabling emergency calls to be made when otherwise contact would have been difficult or impossible for the people involved.
The service will now assist those needing emergency assistance in the hills when mobile reception is poor and there is not enough signal to make a voice call. The benefit is that a text message can be composed and sent in a single operation. You should specify 'Police-Mountain Rescue' when sending the text, and include information about your location, nature of the incident and those involved.
You will only be able to use this service if you have registered with emergency SMS first.
Register now: don't wait for an emergency. To register, text the word 'register' to 999. You will get a reply - then follow the instructions you are sent. This will only take approx two minutes of your time and could save your life!
UPM Safety Alert.
In two separate incidents, two operators have been injured on UPM Tilhill harvesting sites with the change in weather as a contributory cause.
The common theme of these incidents has been the change in the weather in recent weeks. This inevitably has an effect on site conditions. You must review your risk assessments and work methods to the current conditions. Many sites will have been started during the dry summer and the on-site conditions will now have changed dramatically.
While the incidents were on harvesting sites, the conditions leading to them exist on forestry sites as well
Outcome of Fatal Accident Enquiry
James Callander & Sons Ltd - Safety Alert.
A recent fatal accident inquiry in October 2014 ruled "Accidental Death" and ruled that the accident was primarily due to operator error.