Step 2

STEP 2 Initial Weekly Series of One-to-One Safety Training Sessions

For the initial 6 to 8 weeks of employment, at a regularly scheduled time each week, the owner or foreman should present a 20- to 30-minute safety training session to the new employee on a one-to-one basis. These individual weekly sessions “with the boss” will clearly demonstrate to the first-year employee the importance that his new employer places on workplace safety. Topics for the sessions should be carefully chosen and prioritized based on the new employee’s job responsibilities and/or safety issues specific to the characteristics of the current operation. Weekly sessions could be held at the job site or in the shop or office, depending on the work schedule, topic, and training materials used.

Suggested 20- to 30-minute Safety Training Sessions, with sample discussion points and a partial list of reference materials currently available through, include:

A. Safety On the Landing/Log Deck. Suggested list of available reference materials:

  • THSM Section VI
  • FRA Safety Brochure 93-A-15 “Log Deck Danger” (Adobe® Acrobat® Reader required)
  • FRA Safety Brochure 93-A-15 “Log Deck Danger” IN SPANISH
    (Adobe® Acrobat® Reader required)
  • FRA Video and Guide 98-A-5 “Knuckleboom Loader Safety”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-14 “Branch Falls From Hazard Tree at Log Landing”
  • Safety Alert 01-S-13 “Falling Log Kills Landing Worker”
  • Safety Alert 03-S-13 “Hand Signals Fail to Communicate”

Example discussion points may include:

  1. Learn, understand and use basic hand signals around the log deck where noise from operating equipment may make hearing difficult.
  2. Maintain a safe distance from operating equipment – avoid skidder landing approaches.
  3. Watch for equipment operator “blind spots”
  4. Be aware of overhead hazards (tree limbs, snags, power lines, etc.) around the landing
  5. Maintain a safe distance from a truck being loaded – stems may roll off!
  6. Maintain a safe distance from piles of logs – watch for rolling logs.
  7. Maintain a safe distance from loader operations – beware of grappled stems passing overhead!
  8. Use appropriate PPE on the log deck — including a high visibility vest.
  9. Never allow unsupervised visitors on the log deck.
  10. Maintain a clean and orderly log deck – this improves safety performance.

B. Machine Maintenance and Repair Safety. Suggested list of available reference materials:

  • LCO # 41 “Logging Equipment Maintenance and Repair”
  • THSM Section III “Safety Guidelines for Hand Tools”
  • THSM Section X “Lockout – Tagout Guidelines”
  • LCO # 2 “Lockout – Tagout Overview”
  • LCO # 28 “Zero Energy State”
  • LCO # 32 “Safety Glasses Save Eyes!”
  • LCO # 31 “In-Woods Tire Changing”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-4 “Failure to Lockout Causes Finger Laceration”
  • Safety Alert 01-S-1 “Mechanic Falls From Skidder”
  • Safety Alert 00-S-15 “Chipper Pinch Point Crushes Worker’s Fingers”

Discussion points may include:

  1. Do not attempt to perform machine repairs that are beyond the capabilities of the workers or the tools available.
  2. Do not attempt any machine maintenance or repairs until you have read the operator’s manual.
  3. Before beginning any repair or maintenance operation, put the machine into a “zero energy” state.
  4. Carefully follow “lockout – tagout” procedures prior to working on a machine.
  5. Protect the eyes, hands and body from hazardous materials such as fuels, battery acid, etc.
  6. Support the equipment properly and safely before performing any work.
  7. Be aware of possible equipment fires while performing equipment repairs, especially when welding.
  8. Prior to performing maintenance, remove any trash that has accumulated in the engine compartment.
  9. Do not attach electrical wiring to any hoses or tubes that contain combustible fluids.
  10. High pressure systems can inject oil/grease into the skin and/or bloodstream.

C. Chainsaw Safety and Overhead Hazards. Partial list of available reference materials:

  • THSM Section IV “Safety Guidelines for Chainsaw Safety”
  • LCO # 14 “Manual Timber Felling Hazard Recognition”
  • LCO # 18 “Personal Protective Equipment”
  • Safety Alert 03-S-2 “Spring Pole Propels Saw Into Logger’s Face”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-11 “Chainsaw Chaps Prevent Injury”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-2 “Logger Seriously Injured While Limbing”
  • Safety Alert 00-S-8 “Vine Pulls Tree onto Feller”

Discussion points may include:

  1. Use all appropriate PPE at all times, including head, hand, eye and ear protection as well as safety chaps or pants.
  2. Make sure the chain brake is working properly.
  3. Use proper techniques to start the chainsaw (on the ground)
  4. Never use the saw above shoulder height
  5. Understand the dangers of “kickback”
  6. Understand and follow the “two tree length” working rule.
  7. Always use proper “open-faced” directional felling techniques
  8. Plan and clear an “escape path” before felling a tree
  9. Develop a high level of awareness of overhead hazards!!
  10. Use the skidder to remove a lodged, or “danger” tree
  11. Use extreme caution or curtail felling activities on windy days.
  12. Understand the proper way to handle a “spring pole”
  13. Do not operate a chainsaw when you are tired or in poor health

D. Knuckleboom Loader Safety. Partial list of available reference materials:

  • THSM Section V-Part E “Mechanized Loading”
  • LCO # 30 “Power Line Safety”
  • LCO #33 “Mounting and Dismounting Mobile Logging Equipment”
  • FRA Safety Brochure 94-A-6 “Hydraulic Knuckleboom Loader Safe Operation”
  • FRA Video and Guide 98-A-5 “Knuckleboom Loader Safety”
  • Safety Alert 03-S-1 “Knuckleboom Loader’s Main Boom Breaks”
  • Safety Alert 01-S-14 “Log Loader Contacts Power Line”

Discussion points may include:

  1. a. Use safe mounting/dismounting procedures (three-point system)
  2. b. Keep loader steps, handholds, and walking surfaces clean and free of debris, oil and grease.
  3. c. Sound the loader horn before starting loader operations to alert all personnel around the log deck.
  4. d. Make sure truck drivers are out of the cab, always visible, and stay a safe distance from the loader operations.
  5. e. Never swing the boom or load over or near workers on the landing.
  6. f. Do not allow any worker to move or work under a suspended load.
  7. g. “Ground” the loader boom and grapple when not in operation.
  8. h. Know and do not exceed the loader’s rated capacity.
  9. i. Do not operate the loader within 100 feet of a power line.
  10. j. The loader operator is primarily responsible for the safety of all workers on the landing.
  11. k. Always heel logs on the side of the loader opposite the operator’s cab.
  12. l. With safety in mind, organize the landing to minimize boom reach distance, facilitate smooth flow of operations, and provide clear visibility of all workers.

E. Skidder Safety. Partial list of available reference materials:

• THSM Section V-Part B “Operation of Rubber Tired Skidders”
• FRA Safety Brochure 95-A-10 “Skidder Safety”
• FRA Safety Brochure 99-A-1 “Reducing Machine Operator Fatigue”
• FRA Video and Guide” 94-A-2 “Professional Skidder Operator’s Training Video”
• LCO # 33 “Mounting and Dismounting Logging Equipment”
• Safety Alert 03-S-3 “Skidder Rolls Back, Pinning Operator’s Leg”
• Safety Alert 00-S-17 “In-Cab Jolt Paralyzes Skidder Operator”
• Safety Alert 02-S-5 “Removing Skidder Tire Causes Back Strain”

Discussion points may include:

  1. Wear the seat belt at all times while operating the skidder.
  2. Carefully mount/dismount the skidder using the “3-point” method – do not jump from the skidder!
  3. Operate the skidder at the proper speed for the load, weather, and ground conditions.
  4. Maintain safe operating distance (two tree-length rule) from other machines or workers. Know where your fellow workers are at all times.
  5. Set the brake and ground the blade before you dismount the skidder.
  6. Know the capacity of the skidder under different operating conditions, and never overload it.
  7. Think ahead when operating the skidder and anticipate hazards like ground obstructions, hang-ups, and tight turns.
  8. Approach the landing area at a slower, safe speed. Wait for the loader to clear boom, grapple and moving logs before entering the landing area.
  9. Do not operate the skidder on excessively steep terrain. On steep slopes, skid straight up or down rather than across the slope to avoid possible rollover.
  10. When winching stems with a cable skidder, do not winch at a severe angle to the machine, and position the fairlead in a straight line with the mainline.
  11. Operate the winch or grapple controls only when seated in the skidder – never from the ground.

F. Felling Machine Safety. Partial list of available reference materials:

  • THSM Section V-Part C “Mechanized Felling Equipment”
  • FRA Safety Brochure 95-A-8 “Feller-Buncher Safe Operation”
  • FRA Video and Guide 01-A-4 “Cutting Edge of Safety”
  • FRA Safety Brochure 93-A-4 “Sawhead Safety”
  • LCO # 17 “High-Speed Disk Sawhead Safety”
  • LCO # 33 “Mounting and Dismounting Logging Equipment”
  • Safety Alert 03-S-9 “Tree Stuck in F-B Accumulator Causes Rollover”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-15 “F-B Starts Woods Fire”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-3 “Disk Saw Tooth Propelled Through Windshield”

Discussion points may include:

  1. Know and do not exceed the rated cutting, accumulating, or carrying capacities of the felling machine.
  2. Only a fully trained operator should operate a felling machine.
  3. Use extreme caution on windy days or steep slopes to avoid machine rollover.
  4. Follow the two tree-length rule, and always know where your fellow crew members are at all times.
  5. Carry the felling head and load low for machine stability.
  6. Be alert to overhead hazards such as dead snags, tree-to-tree vines, and power lines.
  7. Do not leave a hung tree – Use the felling head to safely push a hung tree to the ground.
  8. Properly sharpen and maintain the shearing blades or cutting teeth for safe, efficient cutting action.
  9. “Stump” a rotating disk to stop the movement before shutting down the felling machine.
  10. When stopped, lower the felling head to the ground, set the brake, and remain near the felling machine during the “cool-down” period.
  11. Never operate a felling machine equipped with a high-speed disk sawhead within 300 feet of any person or dwelling.

G. Log Truck Safety. Partial list of available reference materials:

  • THSM Section VII “Safety in Transportation”
  • NCFA Video and Guide “Professional Trucking of Forest Products”
  • FRA Safety Brochure 97-A-9 “Pre-Trip Truck Inspection Checklist
  • LCO # 13 “Defensive Driving”
  • LCO # 40 “Over-Height Hazards in Trucking
  • Technical Release 03-R-38 “Road Rules Promote Safe Driving on Off-Highway Roads”
  • Safety Alert 03-S-6 “Log Truck Overturns on Curve”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-17 “Log Truck Hits Four Stopped Vehicles”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-12 “Train Strikes Log Truck”
  • Safety Alert 02-S-1 “Log Pile Collapses on Truck Driver”

Discussion points may include:

  1. Conduct a thorough (DOT-required) pre-trip truck and trailer inspection before operating the unit. Do not operate a truck that is unsafe in any way.
  2. Make sure that the truck is properly loaded – do not exceed legal weight, height or overhang limits – do not place any logs above the standards.
  3. Properly bind the load to meet current legal requirements.
  4. If the load requires some touch-up trimming, use a specialized “pole saw” to do it – never reach over your head to trim with a regular chainsaw!
  5. Don’t stay in the cab during loading or unloading operations. Stand well clear of the truck and in view of the loader operator – wear hard hat and other appropriate PPE when outside the truck.
  6. Sound your horn to warn other workers around the landing before you move your truck.
  7. Move at least 100 feet from any overhead power lines before throwing binding chains or cables over the load.
  8. Understand and practice “defensive driving” techniques – they are key to avoiding accidents on the highway.
  9. Exercise extreme caution at railroad crossings!
  10. Before leaving the woods road and entering the highway, stop and tighten all load binders and inspect the load for stability and security.
  11. Avoid depositing mud onto public roads – if you do, promptly clean it up, as it can cause an accident.
  12. Do not drive a log truck if you are impaired in any way!
  13. When traveling empty, make sure binders, chains, straps and other equipment are properly secured and stored.
  14. After unloading, clear any debris from the trailer before returning to the highway.

H. Personal Protective Equipment and Employee Wellness. Partial list of available reference materials:

  • THSM Section II “Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines”
  • LCO # 18 “Personal Protective Equipment”
  • LCO # 16 “PPM – Personal Preventive Maintenance”
  • LCO # 32 “Safety Glasses Save Eyes”
  • LCO # 1 “Hearing Conservation Overview”
  • LCO # 4 “Bloodborne Pathogen Standard Overview”
  • LCO # 3 “HazCom”
  • LCO # 10 “First Aid Kit”
  • LCO # 27 “Substance Abuse”
  • LCO # 34 “Lightning Storm Safety Procedures”
  • Technical Release 03-R-4 “Ensuring Employee Safety With A Call-In System”
  • Technical Release 01-R-4 “On-the-Job Emergency Medical Files”
  • Technical Release 00-R-6 “Cold Weather Safety Training Tips”
  • FISTA Video “Logging Body Mechanics”

Discussion points may include:

  1. The purpose and function of each item of PPE.
  2. What is required to be in each first-aid kit and where they are stored.
  3. Why it’s important to report to work in good physical shape – exercises that can help you stay that way.
  4. Developing an emergency accident response plan for each new job site.
  5. How to avoid being struck by lightning.
  6. How to avoid hypothermia; sunstroke; poison ivy.
  7. How to conduct an accident investigation.

Obviously, there are many other safety training topics that may be appropriate for this important initial weekly series. Loggers are encouraged to carefully review the wealth of safety training materials available through, as well as other sources, and to develop customized weekly safety sessions that address the critical safety issues most relevant to the new employee and his particular role in the operation. Be sure to document each session fully by recording the date, an outline of the topic(s) covered, having it signed by the employee and instructor, and retaining it in the employee’s personnel file.