Managing tree-falling risks, free frontline leadership training & forestry/electricity safety meeting

This post focuses on managing one of forestry’s critical risks – tree falling.
There’s also information about free frontline leadership courses coming up in Whangarei and Balclutha.
Lastly, there’s an invite to a meeting with powerlines companies in Fielding in March, that aims to improve safety when harvesting around powerlines.

Managing critical risks – tree falling

We all have a lot going on in our lives – at home and at work. So, it can be good to stop sometimes and remind ourselves of the most important stuff we need to do today.

When it comes to tree falling, there are well-known things foremen and workers need to do to keep things safe. We’ve captured some of these things in the checklists below.

None of this is new. But running through these checklists at tailgate meetings can be a good way to help people get focused. It might also prompt them to mention issues you didn’t know about.

The Checklist for Foremen is based on criteria that contractors have to meet for the Safetree Contractor Certification scheme. The Checklist for Fallers comes from our Five-Step Falling Plan guide.

Managing critical risks: Tree falling – Checklist for foremen

  • Have you agreed a felling plan and how risks from hung trees, stem rebound and dead trees are going to be controlled?
  • Is there a way to communicate with fallers at all times?
  • If workers are felling within two-tree lengths of a road, is there a traffic control plan?
  • If workers are felling within two-tree lengths of powerlines, have you got an agreed felling plan with the powerlines company?
  • Does everyone know the rules about who can enter a danger zone, and is there a process people go through before they enter danger zones?
  • Do you have a way to check a worker is still fit to do high risks tasks? This includes checking that they aren’t affected by fatigue, stress, injury, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Do all tree fallers have first aid gear with them all the time?
  • Is there an emergency plan for the site you are on, if someone gets hurt?

Managing critical risks: Tree falling – Checklist for fallers

  1. Site: Check if there are roads, powerlines or people working nearby. Check for issues due to wind speed/direction or the terrain.
  2. Tree: Check for decay, steep lean, tangled branches, rubbish in branches or wet ground.
  3. Prepare: Clear around the tree and clear a 45-degree escape route.
  4. Techniques: If the stump’s over 200mm use a scarf and back cut. Have wedges handy. Decide if you need machine assistance.
  5. Retreat: Use a 45-degree angle escape route and look up. Watch for kick back, butt swing or anything being flicked away.

Remember, if anything seems off, stop, walk away and get a second opinion.

More information

Read more about:

Free frontline leadership training

Good frontline leadership is essential to running a successful, safe crew. That’s why Safetree is supporting free frontline leadership courses being run in Whangarei and Balclutha this month.
On these 2-day courses, foremen and health and safety representatives learn how to lead and work with teams that focus on results, including good health and safety. They learn how to involve workers in problem-solving and how to hold people to account.
To register or for more information email:

Next courses

  • Whangarei, Cheviot Motor Lodge, Thursday 1 and Friday 2 March 2018
  • Balclutha, Rosebank Lodge, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 March 2018.

Cost: Free to attend

Read the course flyer

Feedback from previous courses

“Brilliant course!  The resource given out was spot on.   Our group was a great mix also which helped.  Andy was an awesome facilitator.”

“Just wanna thank you for offering me a place on this frontline course. Has really help me more on how to lead. Very good presentation.”

Forestry-electricity safety co-ordination meeting

Forestry businesses are invited to send someone to an industry co-ordination meeting involving FISC (which runs Safetree), WorkSafe and Transpower (which runs New Zealand’s high voltage power lines).
The aim of the meeting is to increase collaboration between forestry and the electricity industry. It’s an opportunity for forestry people to discuss their challenges working around powerlines. WorkSafe will also talk about its expectations for working around powerlines.



Feilding Fire Service Building, 205 Kimbolton Road, Fielding.


Friday 9 March 2018, 10am until 2pm.

RSVP to: by 2 March 2018.
Lunch will be provided.

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