One very relevant word, and the first step in relation to Safety in the Forest. The word is “Observation”.
Generally speaking, people who use their powers of observation to good affect will go about their lives with a good degree of safety .
Us people, who earn our livelihood in the forests should be observing all the time as we move about. We drive to a forest, probably on a daily basis, as we enter the forest, we should observe things like, sight lines from the entrance to the public road , are there overhead cables , are there houses or farmyards nearby , is the area frequented by pedestrians and children . Are there operations going on in the forest, if so, is there adequate signage, are timber stacks and machinery located in safe and secure positions, is there operational machinery. Where is the safest place for me to park my vehicle. Do I observe that operational personnel on site have noted my arrival?
Often a non-operational forest is visited to carry out an inspection. As a person sets off to do an inspection, has the type of terrain been observed, is it difficult , is it a site where every step needs to be taken with care , Are there steep inclines or descents, rock outcrop. Is the crop stable or windblown, Is there a need to regularly take note of the canopy overhead in case there might be the risk of falling branches. Is this a diseased crop with a risk of branch drop without notice, Is it a windy day ? If alone is anyone aware of your whereabouts ? Should you be in this forest today?
All Observations! Basic and necessary Observations for your safety.
Then there is the Observation of necessary safeguards for your safety. There is all the assortment of PPE that are required and provided by the employer. Are we using it or is it an ornament in the back of your vehicle? Are we leading by example and using correct PPE, creating an awareness of the requirement to others? The regular workshops and training days provided to their staff by Euroforest Ireland is an ongoing initiative for the safety of their staff and ensures that their foresters can ensure that all their contractors are working to the highest of standards for the health and safety of all present in the forest. Most recently the provision of a personal safety device to all staff ensures that it is possible to identify your location in the event of a mishap or accident.
People should endeavour to increase their powers of Observation ; It is the first step to being safe in the Forest .