Sunday 28th October marks the official end of British Summertime, although we are already experiencing a drop in temperatures compared to July and August. The Forestry Commission recently announced that the result of dry soils left by the long, hot summer coupled with late summer rain, we are in an early autumn period.
This year’s APF event saw the Forestry Commission celebrating 100 years of the Forestry Act, providing advice and support to the sector and commenting on latest activity. With forestry workers 6 times more likely to be killed at work than a construction worker, knowledge sharing and education remains a critical part of the work required for future development. With the HSE citing growing concerns on the level of competence and high expectations of newly trained/qualified operators, this has never been more important.
In this industry, with the nature of the job including working at height and the risk of falling objects, working with chainsaws and other equipment, careless oversights could quickly turn into serious incidents. The role of technology has increased, as has the need for tree maintenance. Workers can feel instantly reassured by this, possibly too reassured. A reliance on technology could result in arborists and forestry workers becoming less alert to potential issues.
We all know that PPE serves as an essential part of helping to protect those in the forestry industry at work, however, a safety conscious attitude and frame of mind at work is equally as important. It is not enough for workers to rely on PPE, believing that they are 100% safe when they have their PPE is prepped and ready to go. Health and safety needs to be a forefront of the entire workforce’s mind, helping to reduce the amount of carelessness and distraction at work. Put simply, even with PPE and advanced technology employers and site operation managers need to reiterate to workers that this does not render them unexposed to potential incidents. Accidents can still happen and it is critical that workers have a good understanding of this.
1,2,3 – PPE
The purchase of PPE is only the first step in the equipment’s journey. It must be regularly maintained and replaced, whilst continually ensuring it is most suitable for the job being completed at the time.
Successful management of health and safety and the role of PPE requires co-ordination of activities and communication of information, and must start from the top down. Leading by example will not only resonate and encourage workers on the ground to follow suit, it will go a long way in fundamentally improving health and safety performance across the industry for both newly trained and more casual users.
PPE is not a guarantee of safety, and the role of the individual remains crucial. Stay aware and alert. Appreciate the equipment with the knowledge that you also play a significant role in ensuring you do not get hurt at work.
For more information on HAIX’s range of forestry boots visit www.haix.co.uk, or to find your nearest dealer contact Workware www.workware.co.uk