Working in winter; log loading; ‘twig’ before you snap; why we got certified – FPS Forestry

Fiona’s blog: Help to stay fit in winter

We’ve just passed the shortest day, it’s getting colder and we need to take cold weather into account when planning and doing work in the forest. Good clothing, good food and a decent night’s sleep are all important to stay fit during winter.

It’s also important to reinforce to crews when to stop work or change tasks if the weather gets really bad. This newsletter includes some tips on working safety in cold, wet weather.

Dark, cold winter days can also affect our mental wellbeing. So, we’ve included a link to a short video by Dr Tom Mulholland, who has a great technique for dealing with emotions like anger and frustration.

The video was done for farmers. But it’s just as relevant to people working in forestry.

We’ve had great feedback from people who’ve attended our health and wellbeing roadshow with Dr Tom. The roadshow is now moving to the South Island and over the next few weeks we’ll have events in Greymouth, Invercargill, Balclutha, Kaiapoi, Timaru, Nelson and Blenheim. See below for details.

These free events are a great way to look after your own health and the health of your teams/crews. Everyone working in forestry is welcome.

Lastly, if you’ve been thinking about getting Safetree Contractor Certification, watch this video where Kevin Ihaka, from FPS Forestry, talks about why he decided to get certified and whether it was worth the effort.

Fiona Ewing

National Safety Director, FISC

Log loading and log security

McCarthy Transport has produced a visual guide with practical advice on how loader operators, truck drivers, and contractors can work together to improve log loading and load security.

This easy-to-understand photo-booklet uses pictures to show what works and what doesn’t.

It includes advice on how loader operators can work with truck drivers to improve communication. It also covers things like safe positions, moving trailers around, loading on slopes and how to load logs securely.

Thanks to McCarthy Transport for sharing this resource. If you’ve got a resource you think might help others, contact us at and we’ll look at sharing it on Safetree.

Read the guide

Why I got certified – Kevin Ihaka, FPS Forestry

In this video Kevin Ihaka, owner of Whangarei-based silviculture business FPS Forestry, talks about the benefits of getting Safetree Contractor Certification.

For Kevin these included demonstrating professionalism to clients, making his company more attractive to potential workers and recognising the high standard of work done by his employees.

Watch the video

Find out more about certification

‘Twig’ before you snap

Watch this short clip from Dr Tom Mulholland on a technique to deal with unhealthy emotions and thoughts before they cause you to do something you regret (at work or at home).

The technique’s called TWIG. It involves examining whether our thoughts/emotions are True, Worth It, and will help you achieve your Goals. If the answer is no, you need to replace it with a healthier way of thinking.

Watch the video on the Farmstrong website

See when Dr Tom’s Roadshow is coming to a town near you

Working in cold winter weather

If crews aren’t wearing the right gear for cold or wet weather, or haven’t had enough sleep or food, there’s a higher risk of having an accident. It’s important for crews to know they have permission to stop work or change tasks if the weather gets really bad.

Tips for staying fit to work in cold weather:

– Layer up, including having a windproof, waterproof layer.

– Frequent healthy snacks during the day are a good way to keep energy levels up.

– Try to get seven hours sleep a night, or more. (Anyone who’s slept less than five hours in the last 24 hours, or less than 12 hours in the last 48 hours is very likely to be fatigued and more likely to have an accident.)

– Even mild hypothermia can make people groggy and confused. We often don’t recognise these symptoms in ourselves, so we need to keep an eye on each other.

Stop work/do another task if:

– The wind is blowing things around or off the trees.

– Wind and very wet soil make trees unstable.

– There’s heavy rain and/or you don’t have the right clothes.

– No-one should work in the forest during storms (e.g. if there are wind speeds of 88 – 102 km/h).

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