March 11, 2016

Playing it Safe

As a logger, many things are competing for your attention. A harsh and changing environment. Long hours. Looming deadlines. Managing a fleet and crews. Any one of these could distract you from operating safely, which is why it is so essential that safety remain a focus in everything you do. Today's machines are equipped with modern safety features, but at the end of the day, keeping your work environment safe is up to you and your fellow loggers.

Safety is everyone's job. Here's how to keep your logging site safe.

Create a Culture of Safety
A strong safety policy shared with your team helps ensure everyone is on the same page. Key components include:

  • Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job you're doing, including a hard hat, safety shoes, gloves, eye and hearing protection, and reflective clothing.
  • Knowing where to find and how to use fire extinguishers or fire-suppression systems and emergency equipment, including first-aid kits. If equipped, always use your seatbelt.
  • Understanding jobsite rules and regulations related to your application and equipment. These expectations will vary according to work environment or geographical location.
  • On forest roads, trucks, lowboys, graders, and emergency vehicles have the right-of-way. Whenever you need to move to the right remember to stay out of the ditches and be especially careful of soft shoulders which are typical on forest roads.

Know Your Machine

  • Read the operator's manual — it's your best resource for learning to properly operate your machine and its safety features.
  • Learn and follow the operating and maintenance instructions before you even start the machine.
  • Familiarize yourself with the controls and only allow responsible adults who are familiar with these instructions to operate the machine.
  • Before you run the machine, inspect it carefully as prescribed in your operator's manual. Make sure all guards and shields are in place, fixing any damage and replacing worn or broken parts.

Reduce the Risk of Fire

  • Perform routine maintenance.
  • Handle fuel safely, storing flammable fluids away from fire hazards. Never refuel a machine while smoking or when near sparks or flame.
  • Clean the machine regularly, keeping trash, debris, grease, and oil from accumulating in the engine compartment and around fuel and hydraulic lines, exhaust components, and electrical wiring. Never store oily rags or flammable materials inside a machine compartment.
  • Maintain hoses and wiring, replacing hydraulic hoses immediately if they begin to leak, and cleaning up any oil spills. Examine electrical wiring and connectors frequently for damage.
  • Always keep a multipurpose fire extinguisher on or near the machine. Know how to use it properly.

Be Aware of Work-Site Hazards and Know What to Do

  • Prepare the jobsite properly, clearing away debris that could shift unexpectedly if run over.
  • Avoid operating near structures or objects that could fall onto the machine.
  • Keep bystanders clear of the machine at all times. Avoid swinging or raising booms, attachments, or loads over or near personnel.
  • Use barricades or a signal person to keep vehicles and pedestrians away from the machine. Designate a signal person when moving a machine in congested areas or where visibility is restricted. Always keep the signal person in view, and coordinate hand signals before starting the machine.
  • Safely operate the machine only on solid footing that is sufficient to support the machine. Be especially alert when working near embankments or excavations. Be careful when operating in muddy or frozen conditions because the machine may slide or tip more easily. When working on steep slopes, keep the machine as straight and level as possible to prevent it from tipping over.