Safety Library

Guidance for FWM - Planning Chainsaw Operations

FISA Technical Note 002

Chainsaw operations remain the highest risk activity within our industry.

The FISA Chainsaw Working Group has prepared guidance on the planning of chainsaw works,  for those undertaking the works, Forest Works Managers and Landowners.   This guidance has been in circulation as a working draft for comment; we now release as a final version.

The aim is to allow Landowners, Forestry Works Managers (FWM’s), Contractors and Operators to better understand their roles and responsibilities in developing a safe system of work (as laid out in the FISA Guidance on Managing H&S in Forestry (GMHSF)). It is important that Landowners in particular understand that their role can often extend into FWM, where they are commissioning the work and where they are using employees.

The planning stages of chainsaw operations may involve representatives from each of the formal roles (and other interested parties) but should be led by the FWM, whose role it is to ensure that an appropriate level of knowledge, experience and competence combine to produce a work plan which effectively identifies the site-specific hazards, associated risks and allows agreed and realistic controls to be implemented.

An effective Safe System of Work will be dynamic, require a competent chainsaw operative, and allowing for plans to be modified as site or weather conditions change.  The Safe System of Work must provide clear guidance on how these changes will be communicated.

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