Safety Library

Roadside Harvesting

A question came to FISA regarding felling of a farm woodland adjacent to a trunk road. The caller was looking for guidance on risk zones when harvesting trees near a public highway and the requirements for traffic control.

The approach should be a thorough Risk Assessment of the hazards from tree felling and the controls to prevent injury to those using the public highway.

The hazards should be well understood to those involved in forestry i.e. falling trees or parts of and chainshot if a mechanised operation. The controls to protect the public are through effective Traffic Management.

For the trunk road query, the appropriate response is to engage a competent traffic management organisation. Bear in mind that while they may be experts in their field, they may not fully understand the risks associated with tree works. It is the duty of the Forestry Works Manager to communicate these to the TM at the outset and for the FWM to satisfy themselves that they have fully understood the tree work aspects.

Traffic management can vary between Chapter 8 signing and guarding, traffic controls or even full road closures. In all cases, traffic management must be sited, maintained and removed by qualified personnel and if unqualified, permit applicants should contract out this duty to organisations qualified and resourced to do so. The following legislation applies in the use of traffic management:

  • The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (as amended)
  • Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Act 1991
  • The Street Works Regulations 1995 (Accreditation Units 1 and 2)
  • Traffic Signs Manual, Chapter 8 (as amended)
  • Department of Transport Departmental Standard TD 21/85 & TA 47/85
  • The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016

Site planning must take place to ensure that the tree works keeps within the wood where possible and the traffic management is to protect from the unexpected.

As with all Risk Assessment this must be constantly reviewed to ensure the controls are adequate, and if not revised.

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