VI. Operational Safety/Loss Control

General Guidelines

Many accidents are reported each year in which workers are injured while on and around the landing area. Many injuries can be prevented when proper safety guidelines coupled with proper training are used. Injuries received while working on the landing have resulted from improper chainsaw use, working too closely to loading or skidder operations, improper or lack of use of proper personal protective equipment, trashy landing areas, and poor ground conditions. Severe and sometimes fatal injuries have resulted when workers are struck by log loaders, approaching skidders, or rolling logs. Proper landing layout and proper planning and coordination of equipment and worker movements can greatly enhance the safety of the landing area. Other accidents and serious injuries are reported from other areas of logging operations. Losses to vehicles from physical damage and fire are often reported in addition to personal injuries. Improper uses of fire have resulted in substantial losses to equipment and timber, and have resulted in worker injuries. The entire operation should be coordinated to promote safe vehicle and worker movements.


  1. Construct the landing area size to fit the operations size.
  2. Keep debris cleared from the landing to provide safe worker and equipment movements.
  3. 3. Attempt to locate a pre-drop area ahead of the landing for workers to limb, top, and trim trees.
  4. All landing personnel shall wear proper personal protective equipment.
  5. Never store flammable liquids, gas, and oils in the immediate landing area where there is a risk of accidental contact by logs, machines, or workers.
  6. Remove all standing tree hazards in and around the landing area.
  7. Appropriate fire suppression equipment shall be available near the landing area.
  8. The landing area should be located away from public roads and power lines.
  9. Park all service and passenger vehicles a safe distance from the operating area.
  10. All open fires used for warming and cooking should be contained within metal barrels or other fire resistant containers to prevent the risk of wildfire.
  11. Never allow workers with oily, greasy, or flammable liquid stained or soaked clothes to stand near an open flame, or work near an ignition source.
  12. When using a cutting torch or welding machines:
    a. Have fire suppression equipment available.
    b. Wear proper personal protective equipment.
    c. Secure acetylene and oxygen tanks in upright position for storage. Properly label tanks.
    d. Perform work at a safe distance from other workers and operations.
    e. Frequently check lines, fittings, and equipment for safety and proper operation.
  13. Daily, clean the deck and woods area of trash. Have a trash container available on the job site.
  14. Post warning signs on public roads at hazardous junctions to warn motorists of entering or exiting vehicles or equipment. Post signs according to local and state laws.
  15. Never throw gasoline or diesel fuel on an open flame.
  16. Never allow visitors, spectators, or unauthorized persons to be on or near any operation unless they are supervised. All visitors shall wear proper personal protective equipment.
  17. Use extreme caution with battery jumper cable.
    a. Wear eye and hand protection.
    b. Be cautious of explosive fumes.
    c. Before connecting jumper cables check the equipment batteries to verify if they are positive or negative grounds.
    d. Ensure the jumper cables are correctly connected to the proper battery poles.


Keep sparks, flames, and cigarettes away from batteries at all times.
Wear eye protection. Do not lean over batteries during jump-starting. See owner's manual for instructions.


Be sure: vent caps are tight and level ... damp cloth, if available, is placed over vent caps ... vehicles are not touching … both electrical systems are the same voltage.

Don't Jump-Start If Fluid Is Frozen!


(Do in order listed):

  1. Clamp one jumper cable to positive (+) terminal of dead battery wired to starter or solenoid. Do not allow positive cable clamps to touch any metal other than battery terminals.
  2. Connect other end of positive (+) cable to positive (+) terminal of good battery.
  3. Connect one end of the second cable [negative (-)] to other terminal [negative (-)] of good battery.
  4. Make final connection on engine block of stalled engine (not negative post) away from battery, carburetor, fuel line, any tubing or moving parts.

This was reproduced with the permission of the National Society to Prevent Blindness, 500 East Remington Road, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173. This non-profit organization was established in 1908 and with its 27 affiliates, they provide sight saving programs and services.


  1. Proper portable fire suppression equipment shall be located on the jobsite, on each unit of mobile equipment, on each vehicle, and at fuel dispensing and storage areas.
  2. Fire suppression equipment shall have the proper rating, capacity, and charge to effectively suppress any fire. Fire suppression equipment may be of the following types:
    a. Fire extinguishers-charged, dry chemical type, with A, B, C rating.
    b. Water tanks-pressurized tanks filled with water.
    c. Fire extinguishers-charged, Halon gas extinguishers.
    d. Fire extinguishers-charged, chemical foam extinguishers.
    e. Automatic fire suppression systems on equipment-charged, dry chemical systems.
  3. Maintain the proper sized extinguisher at each location. Minimum size should be five pound capacity.
  4. Install on-board fire suppression equipment for easy accessibility. Maintain on-board fire suppression systems as recommended by manufacturers.
  5. Daily, check each suppression unit for proper charge and operation. Recharge all fire suppression units immediately after use.
  6. Always have spare fire suppression equipment for each unit of mobile equipment on the jobsite.


  1. Portable bulk fuel storage:

    a. Bulk fuel shall be stored in approved metal containers, with proper labels for warning and identification.
    b. Fire extinguishers shall be located at the bulk fuel storage area. "No Smoking" signs shall be posted - "No Smoking Within 50-Feet."
    c. Bulk fuel shall be properly stored for safe transport.

  2.  Portable fuel containers:

    a. Only OSHA approved containers shall be used for flammable liquid and fuel storage.
    b. Never store fuel or flammable liquids in glass containers.
    c. Containers shall be properly labeled with warning and identification.
    d. Only vented containers are to be used.
    e. Portable containers should be secured for safe transport to avoid turnover and spillage and to avoid contact with workers.


Professional loggers know the value of their woods equipment. The value is not only in terms of investment "dollars and cents," but also in terms of daily production and operations. Don't think "metal won't burn." It will! Woods equipment fires are both dangerous and expensive, and many are PREVENTABLE. It only takes 15 to 20 minutes daily to reduce the risk of your investment "going up in smoke." It is time very well spent. Most fire hazards are created by:

  1. Accumulation of debris inside machine compartments.
  2. Excessive buildup of oil, grease, and fuel from leaks and spills.
  3. Faulty or damaged electrical system wiring and components.
  4. Overheating of brakes when improperly applied or accidentally left engaged.
  5. Heavy buildup of flammable materials around rotating drive shafts which can ignite due to friction.


  1. Perform routine maintenance and all other manufacturer recommendations for service and maintenance.
  2. Clean unit often. Drop the belly pan and remove side shields to remove debris and accumulated oil, grease, etc. under the engine and transmission at least one time per week. Steam clean and/or pressure wash each unit of woods equipment at least one time per month. During dry conditions or heavy leaf fall periods, clean the unit twice daily or stop the unit and clean as frequently as needed. BUT REMEMBER, - CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!!!
  3. Inspect battery cables, connections, wiring, and electrical components weekly. Repair or replace any defects in the electrical system. Engage battery disconnect switch if available at shutdown for poor connections, frayed wires, abraded insulation cables lying against sharp edges, missing clamps, etc.
  4. Have an approved, charged fire extinguisher on the machine AT ALL TIMES. Check the extinguisher regularly to be sure it remains charged. As a back up, it may help to keep a gallon jug of water handy on the unit. Other fire suppression equipment should be installed on the unit. Water tanks are very good fire suppression units. Regularly check water tanks for proper air pressure and water level.
  5. If the machine is equipped with an automatic fire suppression system, regularly test and maintain it.
  6. Have the operator observe and check the unit for 15-20 minutes after shutdown to ensure adequate "cool down time." Many fires occur after shutdown.
  7. Park the unit at a minimum distance of 50-feet from other equipment in an area pushed and cleared of excess debris to minimize fire spread.
  8. Maintain the engine cooling system to avoid overheating.
  9. Keep the operator's compartment clean.
  10. Do not transport flammable liquids on the machine.
  11. Before refueling shut off the engine. No smoking within 50 feet of refueling operation.
  12. Clean fuel, oil, or grease spills.


These guidelines are offered to assist in reducing vandalism:

  1. Remove all keys from ignition switches and engage electrical system cut off switch when leaving the operation area.
  2. If not already installed, put keyed locks on cab doors, fuel tanks, hydraulic tanks, engine side shields, machine covers, or doors where possible. Chain cab doors and covers if locks unavailable.
  3. In areas of high vandalism contact local law enforcement agencies before beginning the job.
  4. If possible, enlist the help of someone living nearby to help observe your equipment after shutdown.
  5. Hide your equipment from easy view whenever possible.
  6. A night watchman may be necessary to protect the equipment during shutdown.