Through our guiding principles to serve, share and support, NATS empowers others with the resources needed to safely perform their jobs so at the end of the day, everyone returns safely home. While safety is at the forefront of everything we do year-round through our trainings and online classes, this month (June) is National Safety Month. As noted on the National Safety Council’s website, “National Safety Month focuses on saving lives and preventing injuries, from the workplace to anyplace.”
We regularly share safety tips from our instructors, so this month we are highlighting tips from a handful of our Safety Alliance Partners.
Your saddle/harness is one of the biggest assets in your arsenal, making sure you thoroughly inspect it before every climb is essential to minimizing any potential hazards. When inspecting your bridge (rope or web), webbing, and any other rated connection points, make sure you look for cuts, kinks, abrasions, excessive wear, cracks, charring, broken fibers, swelling, and any loose stitching. Saddle and any other safety gear inspection is key to maintaining your safety and eliminating as many hazards as possible before your climb.
Do I really have to discard my garment if it is cut by a chainsaw?
The chainsaw protective fabric in pants works exactly the same as chaps, so any saw cut renders the garment ineffective and it must be discarded. There is no way of repairing the inner fabric once it is cut.
When a chainsaw hits the protective pad, fibers get pulled out of the weave from the top to the bottom and from side to side in the area where the cut occurred. These fibers are dragged into the sprocket area, jamming the saw, all in a fraction of a second! Those fibers can definitely not be stuffed back inside and the outer cover stitched up.
While it may seem wasteful to throw away what is an expensive garment when it has been cut by a chainsaw, the ability of that garment to stop a second accident should it occur, is very low. It is no longer compliant to the standard and must not be worn.
Remember: every tree is different. So be sure to properly prepare and plan before you fell a tree. You should also have a solid understanding of the key concepts of tree felling, such as felling hinge, directional notch and felling cut, as well as what methods and techniques to use, depending on the tree.
Inspection and maintenance are critical parts of any piece of gear. All gear should be inspected before each use, and it is always a great idea to let someone else inspect your gear to keep you honest. Inspection will reveal any issues and stop you from using a failed piece of equipment. Maintenance not only helps prolong the service life of equipment, but helps maintain the best working condition of the equipment.
Dull knives or cutter wheels can cause excessive vibration on your brush chipper, grinder or stump cutter. This can have a negative impact on the machine as the vibration may put added stress on the drive belts, clutch and bearings. Therefore, Jeff Vander Molen, industrial service training lead at Vermeer, recommends that you inspect knives and cutter wheels for wear, cracks or other irregularities. Replace knives and cutter wheels as needed.
Keep these safety tips in mind and share them with your colleagues so you all stay safe on the job.