Playing it safe: first aid and occupational safety in forestry

Serious injuries are not uncommon in forestry: In 2019 alone, there were some tousand severe forest accidents in Germany—some of them serious and leading to death. One thing is clear: There is a high risk potential associated with many forest operations. As a result, occupational safety and first aid is a prominent topic at INTERFORST, addressing issues that highlight how “protection forest” applies to forest workers, too.

Forestry work can be dangerous, but there are broad capabilities to prevent accidents and ensure greater safety in the forest. These include forest protection vehicles and machines that make heavy physical and risky work such as timber harvesting easier and help forest workers specifically during felling; protective equipment also includes forest protective clothing and clothing with cut protection such as personal protective equipment (PPE).

What is the best way to implement occupational safety in the forest? What training is recommended for first aid in the forest? What is the latest in forest protective clothing? At the INTERFORST trade fair you will learn about optimal protection for yourself and your employees—for example with:

Forest protective clothing, personal protective equipment, protective and work clothing

Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects workers from injuries during forest work, especially when working with a chainsaw. The following elements of protective equipment are mandatory for health and safety in the forest: hard hat with face protection and hearing protection, protective gloves, cut protection pants and safety shoes.

Fortunately, serious safety flaws are the exception and there have only been a few cases where the PPE worn in documented accidents did not comply with the specifications or was simply inadequate. These were mainly related to safety shoes without cut protection and worn-out cut protection pants and helmets.

At the 2018 event, the following suppliers were among those presenting PPE with a quality guarantee:

  • 3M Deutschland GmbH
  • ASPEN-Produkte Handels-GmbH
  • AX-MEN GmbH
  • KOX - Partner im Forst
  • engelbert strauss
  • ForestShield Oy
  • Grube KG Forstgerätestelle
  • HAIX®-Schuhe
  • HF Sicherheitskleidung
  • Pfanner Schutzbekleidung GmbH
  • Profiforest s.r.o.
  • PSS Pfeiffer Sicherheitssysteme GmbH
  • STIHL Vertriebszentrale
  • Unterreiner Forstgeräte GmbH

Personnel vehicles, accessories, sanitary and hygiene equipment for forestry operations

Sturdy personnel vehicles play a significant role in creating optimal working conditions and procedures.

They are used to store small tools and equipment, can be outfitted as required with sanitary and hygiene equipment such as toilets and showers, and can be equipped with wood or gas stoves and seating. Regardless of its equipment, the personnel vehicle must meet two criteria: weather resistance and burglary protection.

At the previous INTERFORST, products and services relating to forest protection vehicles, personnel vehicles, accessories, sanitary and hygiene supplies were presented by the following companies, among others:

  • Martens Forsttechnik GmbH
  • Pfanner Schutzbekleidung GmbH

First aid in forestry, rescue and emergency

The fact is: Despite all the precautions and protective clothing, accidents cannot always be prevented. Those situations call for fast and competent first aid to save lives, when necessary, even without on-site emergency services. First aid courses and regular training on proper procedures in emergencies should therefore be standard for forest workers. This also includes knowledge about the working environment and rescue routes.

Just as critical: a functioning rescue chain that begins with an immediate emergency call and first aid procedures. Because reception in forests is often poor, special communication and emergency call systems are used. To ensure that the rescue chain runs smoothly, heavy forest operations should include at least three people who are in visual and/or audible contact with each other at all times. Special radios and headsets assist with this.

In 2018, the following companies and insurers presented information on how to prevent accidents in the forest and how to train for first aid in forestry:

  • Bayerische Landesunfallkasse
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV)
  • Gross Funk GmbH
  • Unfallkasse Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Sozialversicherung für Landwirtschaft, Forsten und Gartenbau (SVLFG)