Britain's HSE Helps Bring in Safe Harvest of Christmas Trees

Britain's Health and Safety Executive worked hand in hand this season with the nation's Forestry Commission to ensure that FC working harvesting 2,000 Christmas trees from the slopes of North Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest completed the work unhurt. HSE said the odds of workers in the forestry and arboriculture sector being killed or seriously injured in any one year are worse than 1 in 20.

Chainsaws, heavy equipment, cutting machines, and falling timber are major hazards. "Much forested land in Great Britain is, like Dalby Forest, located in upland areas. Often the terrain is boggy and strewn with rocks," HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said. "Machines need to be well maintained to remain safe and viable and those responsible for planning work on forestry sites need to assess slopes, select equipment which can safely work the site, and designate safe routes of access. The forestry industry needs a system of training and certification that is simple, cost effective, and in which everyone can have confidence. Everyone working in forestry already needs to be competent, and chainsaw operators need to have undergone a recognized training course and hold a certificate of competence."

He said HSE recently finished a detailed consultation with all sectors of the industry, and the results are currently under review. "So, when you have decorated that real Christmas tree, spare a thought for the training and hard work that brings it to you," Franklin said.

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