of the joys for many landowners of owning and managing woodlands
is working in the woodlot. For these owners, doing their own
road and skidtrail location, timber stand improvement, thinning,
planting, wildlife habitat enhancement, and, in some cases,
even their own harvesting, are an integral part of woodland
as with any other business or farm operation, safety on-the-job
in the woodlot is an important consideration. It is important
to note that chain saw accidents, alone, account for some 15,000
injuries annually in the U.S. Working safely in the woods
should be a concern for all woodland owners, regardless of
the extent or degree to which they do their own management
activities. Ideally, working safely in the woodlot should
become both necessary and second nature.
following is a guide or checklist for working safely in the
woods. Much of it is common sense, and most of the items are
simple and easy to do; but they all lead to safer and more
pleasant work experiences in the woods:
plan all activities.
someone of your plans: where you plan to be, when, what
you are doing, when you plan to return.
a first aid kit; if not with or on you, at least in your
appropriate clothing for the task at hand:
warmly in cold temperatures; layering when necessary;
cool clothing in hot temperatures;
proper or loose-fitting clothing to allow for ease of
movement for certain activities such as walking or loading;
tighter-fitting clothing when working with certain machinery,
such as chain saws;
appropriate protective clothing, again depending on
tick country be knowledgeable about lyme disease and aware
of the steps to avoid problems, including repellents.
you know you have allergic reactions to bee stings, carry
a sting treatment kit with you; and carry it with you
into the woods, don't leave it behind in your vehicle.
aware of any other venomous insects or animals in your area,
be able to recognize them, and know what to do if stung
dehydration and heat prostration; know the symptoms and
how to treat them; always take and drink plenty of water.
alert; think; take rest/water breaks frequently.
nutritious lunches/snacks for long work days; combined with
nos. 8 and 9 above, helps fight fatigue, which is a factor
in many accidents.
maintain all equipment and tools, keeping sharp tools sharp,
since they work better that way; proper maintenance assures
better efficiency, production and lowers accident potential.
and use the proper safety equipment for the task at hand:
hardhats, ear protection, eye protection, gloves, boots
and steel-toed boots, chaps and other protective clothing
when using a chain saw.
and use a chain saw that has all the current and modern
safety features such as a chain brake, hand guard, chain
catcher, safety chain, and vibration-absorbing handle.
heavy woods work in inclement weather.
not drink alcoholic beverages when working in the woods.
ahead: in event of an accident know where the closest possible
assistance is located.
in the woods can certainly be satisfying and rewarding for
woodland owners. Just remember to always work safely in the
woods, and that planning and common-sense are key.
undertaking any activity in the woods, it is also advisable
to first discuss it with your professional forester.
you landowners who are able and so-inclined, have at it! And
Publication #: FS593
is apart of
a series from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers, the
State University of New Jersey. Publication date: September
C. Vodak, Extension Specialist in Forestry, Rutgers, the State
University of New Jersey, PO Box 231, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0231.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.