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Breaking-out and tree felling!

The ACoP Safety and Health in Forest Operations – (s.12, page 81) states that the“…the contractor/employer shall have a documented process to determine and identify the safe retreat position for each line or days’ work…” (12.2.23) and …including the head breaker-out… “shall ensure the process is understood, agreed and carried out...”

The rules for tree felling (s11, p. 68 – 74) are as strict and while not specifically stated, we generally accept there will be equivalent ‘documented processes’ that are ‘understood, agreed and carried out’ by the people completing manual tree felling!

Processes in Place to Protect People!

The figures above, clearly demonstrate that breaking-out and tree felling continue to be among the most hazardous of all forest operations, including felling in silviculture!

Re-commencing operations in 2016, employers (contractors) and workers, particularly those in positions of responsibility, must be acutely aware of their supervisory responsibilities and remain ever vigilant to ’carry-out’ the ‘agreed’ processes!

Warning Shot Fired! On the 26th of August 2015, a ‘gut-hooked’ stem upended, swung toward and struck a trainee breaker-out. Both he and his head breaker-out were not in the Safe Retreat Position! Following its incident investigation, WorkSafe NZ: 

  • Has found that the “documentation” of the contractor’s “health and safety system” was a “credit” to them and will take no further action against the contractor

  • Has recommended the prosecution of the head breaker-out (under s. 19 of the HSE Act) who will subsequently appear in court early this year.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 98