In order to ensure safety at work, chainsaw operators are required to have adequate knowledge of the saw’s operation, how to work safety with it, as well as use of appropriate auxiliary equipment and protective clothes. Polish regulations require that a logger starting work must complete appropriate training and obtain a license to harvest trees.
The aim of the study was the assessment of trainings provided for chainsaw operators and identification of the potential hazards by logging operations.
In order to assess the state of knowledge of chainsaw operators and their occupational safety during logging, a survey was carried out. The survey covered 15 forest districts. Questionnaire forms were delivered to 354 chainsaw operators, of which 209 completed the forms and returned them.
A large group of respondents acquired chainsaw operating skills on their own, while some of them were qualified in courses lasting 2-3 days.
Chainsaw operators assess their knowledge and skills in working with a chainsaw at a relatively high level. The longer they have been licensed and the longer they have worked as a logger, the higher they rated their skills.
Safely working with a chainsaw depends not only on the techniques of the work, so the study also asked respondents about personal protective equipment and the use of auxiliary tools in the logging process and the operation of chainsaws. A lack of the use of personal protective equipment was also observed.
25% of the surveyed chainsaw operators had had an accident or suffered an injury during logging, the main cause of which was tripping, a fallen tree or a falling branch. A large group of respondents stated that the most frequent cause of accidents was failure to observe safety rules, the lack of personal protective equipment or the improper use of working tools. 76% of sustained injuries were not reported to the employer as accidents occurring in the course of work.
The identified deficiencies in the training of chainsaw operators and the declared behaviors indicating the assumption of a routine approach as one’s service in forestry lengthened, indicate the need to introduce periodic continuing education and training courses. Such training should become a permanent element of the system of increasing the safety of logging with a chainsaw.