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Harvesting Safety

Communication and Consultation on the Harvest Site
 
While communication is an applicable issue to any operational site, it is becoming an increasingly important focus for forest harvest sites. Many recent incidents and near misses on harvest sites have been caused by a lack of communication between parties on the site at the time, with procedures and discussion associated with communication having to less of a focus for crews and visitors alike.
 
Various WorkSafe documents associated with forest harvesting devote chapters highlighting the importance of communication and consultation in ensuring knowledge of issues associated with a site, as well as overall awareness of the numerous comings and goings of people, plant and trucks that frequently occur on any harvesting operation. Formal and informal communication can also help ensure a positive safety culture exists within a workplace.
 
The relevant forms of communication that apply particularly to a harvest site can and should include the following:
 
Radio use and protocol - A documented and utilised radio protocol ensures that all crew members are able to clearly communicate intended movements and actions and be confident that everyone on site has heard and understood the message.
 
Site entry and exit and appropriate signage – Any person or vehicle entering a harvest site must be given permission before proceeding beyond an appropriately signposted entry point (with required equipment and radio channel noted).
 
Inductions - Before allowing entry to a site an induction must be conducted, or establish if the individual wanting entry has already been inducted. A site induction is not only a legal requirement but also plays an important role in the communication of hazards associated with a harvest site and relays important information in the event of an incident or emergency.
 
Toolbox talks – Regular, documented toolbox talks not only reinforce known safety issues but allows for discussion and documentation of hazards that have emerged more recently as well as beginning the process of management of these issues within the relevant procedures.
 
General conversation and observations – Simply by talking to each other and relating information regularly creates a culture where by new thoughts, ideas and issues can be voiced freely, discussed and dealt with at a higher level if necessary.
 
Communications in all forms and at all levels will help in the creation of a safe harvest site by -

  • Creating awareness of issues and procedures in place to deal with them.
  • Reinforcing the importance of safety on the worksite.
  • Allowing the identification of new hazards to be voiced and appropriately dealt with.
  • And ensuring all workers are aware of who is on a site on a particular time
  • And ensures that they are appropriately inducted and aware of identified safety matters.

 
http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/52879/Safety-in-forest-harvesting-operations-Code-of-practice.pdf
 
https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/156141/UPDATED-WorkSafeForestryGuide.pdf