Work Safety when Processing Storm Damaged Timber
assessment requires a calm and cool-headed approach
- Duty to provide instruction in
accident prevention regulations before processing of storm damaged timber
(including for communal workers as well as state foresters from other regions
e.g. federal states) and periodic repetitions of the instructions by
- Organisation of special courses and
training in the processing of storm damaged timber for state foresters at
forestry education centres and through occupational safety specialists.
Organisation of corresponding training for communal and private forest owners.
- Increased number of visits to state
gangs by occupational safety specialists, who provide support with words and
- Provide mechanical support at
- Higher degree of mechanisation –
increased utilisation of mechanical processing techniques.
- Introduction of a communication and
emergency call system, if not already in place. Ensure the possibility of
purchase by communities and contractors.
- Instruction of non-local workers in
rescue plans and rescue chains of the local forest office.
- Urge an increased safety awareness
by all parties: courses, practise.
- If assortment piece rate is used:
Change to hourly rate! Monthly wages have now been introduced by the state
forest administrations in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz.
Experiences after "Lothar" in Baden-Wuerttemberg
Besides a broad instruction and training in processing
storm damaged timber, the introduction of a so-called "storm-wage" - a
non-output-related wage - was the centrepiece of the safety strategy used
during the processing of storm damaged timber. This storm wage was created to
cope with the special strains and high risks of the work, but also to relieve
forest rangers from time-consuming settlement procedures. The usual assortment
piece rate did not fulfil these needs. The Ministry for Rural Areas in
agreement with the Ministry of Finance agreed to a special wage (time rate)
based on the personal average assortment piece wage of the 1999 forest year.
The time wage allowed foresters to process storm damaged timber in a calm and
cool-headed manner without considering the effect on their income. This allowed
enough time in complex situations to visualise the situation, assess the risk
and consult colleagues if in doubt.
This regulation has been met with broad approval by foresters, even by some
employees who earned less than via the usual assortment piece wage.
Rescue chain – Emergency call system
In case of an accident colleagues have to perform
first aid. Therefore a first aid kit is provided to every work group.
Call for help:
- via mobile phone: area code +
19222, alternative "110" or "112"
radio band forest: contact manned position (e.g. forest office)
local phone: 19222 or 110 resp. 112
- Accident at forest work, rural
district XY, forest district XY local location
Where is the emergency?
- name location as well as
number/location of the meeting point, where possible name GPS/UTM coordinates
- cuts, heavy bleeding
- unconsciousness, apnoea, head
- broken bones
- internal emergencies
(heart-attack, heart-circulatory system, insect sting)
- other diseases
- back injury (rescue helicopter)
Other important remarks
- Is technical equipment needed?
(Injured person is wedged)
- difficult /step terrain, mountain
rescue service / fire brigade needed for rescue
Await questions from the rescue
- personal details, name, phone
number for inquiries
Alert forest ranger / forest
- after calling for help, the meeting point must be approached
immediately, guide the rescue workers to the injured
Proceeding as a 2-person-group:
- After first aid and calling for
help, the uninjured colleague leaves the accident location and awaits the
rescue service (emergency physician and ambulance) at the meeting point. They
drive together to the place of accident.
Important: Safety before haste! No overhasty or risky activities!
Alternative report to forest office:
- The colleague arranges with the
forest office for a local colleague / forest ranger to take over the coordination
of the arrival of the rescue service. After calling for help, he/she marks the
way to the accident location then returns to take care of the injured
- A colleague at the forest office
(who is familiar with the place) or the forest ranger, drives to the meeting
point and guides the rescue service to the last drivable point (e.g. woods
cabin, forester’s car). The siren will be turned off at this stop to signal
their arrival to the injured and his/her carer.
- The marking guides the rescue team
to the place of accident. To improve orientation it’s advisable to direct them
with acoustic signals (whistle) to the place of accident.
Proceeding as a 3-person-group:
- While one colleague marks the way to
the place of accident and provides first aid to the injured (wound treatment,
keeping warm, psychological care, correct position), the other colleague calls
for help and drives to the agreed meeting point to guide the rescue service to
the place of the accident.
- The ambulance drives in the forest
with the siren on to signal to workers its arrival.
- If no worker is available as a guide
or if the terrain is difficult, it’s possible to indicate the place of accident
through a whistle or compressor.
- Four-wheel-vehicles drive ahead. The
emergency physician and his/her equipment are placed in the first car.
- Turning space is required for the
ambulance at the accident location
Rescue plan and rescue map
Rescue plans and rescue maps only work if the
following points are kept in mind and if the foresters are aware of the
life-saving importance of the rescue plan within the rescue chain.
- The rescue plan can be created at a
forest district-, county- or state level. It needs to be regularly updated and
practised by all parties (foresters, main office and rescue coordination
centre) at the forest district or forest office level.
- The rescue plan and -map are
displayed in the forester’s cabin. Minimum content: emergency phone number,
first aid and rescue facilities as well as the agreed meeting points.
- Meeting points must be known by
foresters off by heart.
- The nearest meeting point has to be
written down in the work instruction. The most important objectives of the
rescue plan have to be repeated regularly.
- Meeting points have to be central
points of the forest district and accessible from every point of the
- The responsible rescue coordination centre has
to be involved in choosing the meeting points and has to be kept informed about
the location of the meeting points. A uniform numbering / labelling is
necessary. Include the GPS- / UTM coordinates of the meeting points on the map.
In this way the rescue coordination centre will be familiar with the meeting
points within its scope.
The following applies for Baden-Wuerttemberg: Due to administrative reform in
Baden-Wuerttemberg changes in responsibility might occur. Meeting points within
new areas of responsibility may need to be checked and adjusted.
For clarity use coloured copies of the land survey
administration topographical map with a scale of 1:50.000.
- Important: Exchanged, non-local
foresters must receive a rescue plan and rescue map as well as an intensive
- Contractors (local and non-local)
also have to be included in the rescue system.
- Attention: It might be possible that
not every meeting point has mobile phone reception. Therefore check reception
and switch to the forest radio channel if necessary.
- Consider making meeting points at
places frequently used by the public (parking sites for hikers, forest playground,
BBQ areas etc.) Rescue plans can be displayed on information boards at these
places allowing their use by private forest owners as well as hikers and
- No one works alone in the forest.
- Keep in contact with other people (sight,
- The nearest meeting point must be
named in the work instruction.
- If an accident occurs do not
transport the injured person to the meeting point or to the hospital on your
- During the rescue operation
remember: Safety before haste!
- Late help is better than no help at
all. Attach great importance to your own safety!
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