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Author(s): Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva)
Editorial office: WSL, Switzerland
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Dealing with windblown trees

There are many complex hazards in storm-affected forests with thrown, uprooted, broken, heavily leaning and hung-up trees. Therefore, particular precautions are necessary.

Sturmholz sicher aufrüsten
Fig. 1 - Dealing with windblown trees: A job involving particular hazards!

CAUTION!

Dealing with windblown trees is hazardous without appropriate training, equipment and work preparation!

There are many complex hazards in storm-affected forests with thrown, uprooted, broken, heavily leaning and hung-up trees or parts of trees:

  • Impassable and obstructed roads and routes, reduced accessibility and visibility
  • Incalculable tension and forces both in individual trees as well as in jammed stems and root plates
  • Unstable trees, parts of trees, root plates and stones that can suddenly topple, tip over, fall or roll away without any visible reason even days, weeks or months after a storm.

The brochure "Dealing with windblown trees" (PDF) is intended for people who have to deal with windblown trees. The  aim of the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) is to:

  • Make you aware of the particular dangers involved in dealing with windblown trees
  • Encourage you to think about your own capabilities and limitations
  • Inform you about safety rules and measures

The authors have intentionally dispensed with descriptions of working and cutting techniques. These are best learnt in practical courses. Every windblown-tree situation is different and requires an individual approach. Only when taught by a qualified instructor will you learn how to assess a specific situation correctly and how to apply the safest working and cutting techniques.

This brochure is no substitute for minimum basic training nor can it be considered to be a comprehensive training document. It is no substitute for practical, on-the-job training.

Content

The brochure contains the following chapters:

  1. Dealing with windblown trees: A job involving particular hazards!
  2. Is your "life insurance" TOP?
  3. Managers: Adapt your safety concepts
  4. Are you equipped for an emergency?
  5. Warning: Do not expose third parties to risk!
  6. Windblown forest areas: The correct approach
  7. Before every cut: Reassess the situation
  8. Tension: Beware of the hazards – your life could be at risk!
  9. Bringing down hung-up trees
  10. Bringing down a tree with a broken crown touching the ground
  11. Felling the remains of a tree without a crown
  12. Felling heavily leaning trees
  13. Severing trees from their root plates
  14. Publications

The main sources of accidents

Activity Hazards Illustration
Severing trees from their root plates
  • Being crushed by a toppling, turning or rolling root plate
  • Being struck by a stem kicking sideways
  • Getting caught by a splitting stem
  • Getting trapped and crushed between stems
kippender Wurzelteller
Felling heavily leaning trees
  • Getting struck by a splitting stem
  • Getting struck by a falling part of the stem
aufstpaltender Stamm
Bringing down hungup trees or parts of the crown
  • Getting struck by a tree or root plate that move unexpectedly
  • Getting struck by part of the crown that breaks off and falls
sich unerwartet bewegender Stamm
Bringing down a tree with a broken crown touching the ground
  • Getting struck by the stem or part of the
    crown that breaks off and falls
brechender Stamm
Felling the remains of a tree without a crown
  • Getting struck by remains of trees that
    bounce up or kick sideways or backwards
    when they hit the ground
rückwärts ausschlagender Baumrest

Download

Contact

  • Othmar Wettmann
    Habermattweg 3
    CH - 6010 Kriens
    e-mail: o.wettmann @ gmx.ch

  • SUVA
    Abteilung Arbeitssicherheit
    Bereich Holz und Dienstleistungen
    Rösslimattstrasse 39
    6002 Luzern
    Tel. +41 41 419 52 68
    Web: www.suva.ch/forst

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