Safety Bulletins

Felling. No Room for Complacency!

ACOP Rule 2.5.1 states "The employer (referring to the principal contractor) shall ensure that a competent person is in charge of each operation, who shall supervise and ensure work is supervised and performed in a safe manner."

That safe manner is the 5-step tree felling plan;

(1) Site assessment,

(2) Individual tree assessment,

(3) Preparation of the work area and escape route,

(4) Choose and use safe felling techniques, and

(5) Retreat and observe.

These 5-steps are critical to success; as the following incidents show:

Noggin #271: A tree feller was walking to the next tree and his chosen path took him through a small water race (this is an old mining site). As he reached his next tree he tripped on a vine, lost his balance and he fell back into the water race. In the process he sustained a large gash to his upper arm.

Noggin #298: A tree feller, having felled a tree, was walking along his escape route. A branch came back at him from the area in front, striking him across the neck and chest.

Tripped up During Step 2/5  the Individual Tree Assessment!

  1. Look up for dead or broken branches; anything that may dislodge during felling.
  2. Look for branches interlocking with branches of other trees.
  3. Watch your step on vines, holes, loose and water-logged soils can be treacherous.
  4. Look for rot or other disturbance around the base that could affect fall direction.
  5. Always follow the relevant ACoPs and safety rules e.g. Safe Ops and GSRs.
  6. Monitor the wind speed and direction and know when felling should stop.
  7. Remember: If you do not think you can fell a tree safely, leave it and get help.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 109