Three Common Risks Associated with the Forestry Industry


Forestry is considered a high-risk industry to work in. But, it does not have to be unsafe.  While there are many risks associated with different forestry activities like silviculture, harvesting, and logs and personnel transportation, there are things that can be done to guarantee the safety of employees. It is important to identify associated hazards or risks and develop suitable controls related to personnel safety and health, safe equipment, and safe working environment. The following are some of the safety hazards that businesses in the forestry industry should look into:

Personnel Transportation

Typically, forestry operations are labour intensive with tracts of land or activities. That is why a number of employees and equipment must be transported every day to different land compartments. Additionally, the personnel transport vehicles may travel long distances over treacherous terrain, usually in extreme weather conditions, increasing the possibility of accidents.

During the transport, employees might be in the same compartment as tools and equipment. This presents a serious risk of injury as equipment may fling around during a traffic accident. Employees and contractors can be protected by using suitable personnel carriers equipped with individual seats and seat belts for everybody in transit. Tools and equipment must be stored in a separate compartment or transported in a separate vehicle.

Harvesting Risks

Contemporary forestry companies have mechanised their harvesting operations for maximum yield efficiencies and safety. But, there are still cases when harvesters need to harvest trees manually using chainsaws. But, these tools pose a risk to operators and other employees working in the area as trees fall. People could enter the danger or drop zones of falling trees. This risk can be managed by clearly defining safe distances. Also, tree-falling activities must be separated from other tasks like debarking or cross-cutting. This requires developing and sharing pre-harvesting plans as part of the everyday toolbox discussions.

Log Loading and Transport

In the forestry industry, log loading and transportation is a daily activity with road trucks, chargeuse-remorque a bois, trailers, and rail wagons loaded for delivery to sawmills, paper mills, and other storage locations. Typically, these are high-risk areas because of the presence of big mobile plants and equipment like log handlers and collection vehicles. It is imperative to have strict rules and controls in place to separate people from equipment and the loading and offloading areas. Also, safe stacking and log securing on the vehicles must be considered ahead of log transportation.

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