Being Safe in Irish Forestry

Posted on 25 February 2010

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There are many different types of commercial forestry operations being undertaken in Ireland. And, like many commercial forestry operations throughout the world, working in Irish forestry can be very dangerous. The danger comes from two different very distinct areas. The first area is in the actual processing of the trees and timber. This involves either felling trees or, in the case of arboriculture, heavy pruning operations where is the arborist is required to climb trees. The second area where danger can come from is in the natural environment. Many things in the natural environment can harm a forest worker. Branches that have come away from the tree can fall, and if these branches fall from eight they can cause serious injury. Serious injury can also because by trees falling over, or trees that have already fallen over and pose a danger because they can spring back at the chainsaw operator.

It is actually since the introduction of machinery into forestry operations that has really increased the danger levels in Irish forestry. It used to be that years ago most felling operations were carried out by handsaw. These days, and for the past few decades, a chainsaw is used to take trees down. The chainsaw has much been replaced by a mechanical harvesting machine in larger forestry operations, but chainsaws are still used on small plots to fell trees and may be used in some thinning operations. The chainsaw is also the only method of creating forestry inspection paths in order to gain forest access once the canopy of trees has closed in sufficiently to prevent a human being from entering the forest.

In order to use a chainsaw in Irish forestry, the chainsaw operator will need a chainsaw license. This means that in general the person will go through a chainsaw course which can last several weeks. At the end of this course the chainsaw operator will be able to fell different types of trees, know what to do if a tree becomes stuck in the canopy once it has been cut, he will also be able to maintain his own chainsaw, perform several first-aid techniques, and be able to work in the forest environment in a safe manner.

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