Public Safety in the Forest Project with Kirsty Adams

Collaboration: We spoke to Kirsty Adams, Head of Safety & Assurance about her involvement in the Tilhill Forestry Public Safety in the Forest Project and the subsequent dedicated FISA working group.

Tell us more about this FISA Working Group, when was it set up?

The Public Safety project was initiated by Tilhill Forestry. It was set up in October 2018 when the Company was reviewing its policies and procedures with a view to improving safety surrounding public access to forests in general and, in particular, our work sites. Tilhill Forestry took the project as far as we could as a single entity and then handed it over to FISA in order that it could be promoted to the wider forest industry and the public in general. This handover took place in January 2019 when a dedicated FISA Working Group was initiated.

The FISA Working Group includes representatives from Forestry Commission England, Forest Enterprise Scotland, National Resource Wales and The Woodland Trust.

Tell us about the types of research involved in the project?

The research involved Tilhill Forestry initially looking at their own internal procedures and then those outside of the UK, looking at examples of best practice from Finland and British Columbia.

Research was also carried out with S4 – 6 pupils going through their Duke of Edinburgh awards. This included talking with them in school and on expeditions about their interaction with working sites in a forest and their attitude towards signage. We also carried out research with contractors at the Tilhill Forestry ‘Insist on Safety’ days where their opinions on the subject were invited.

What progress has been made since the dedicated Working Group for this project started?

A number of changes have been made to Tilhill Forestry’s own documentation and signage which means we focus more on the control measures to ensure public safety on our sites.

The working Group is also creating an industry-wide health and safety awareness video. The Group helps in terms of being able to also deal with negative press turning it into something positive based on the work we are doing and the improvements we are looking to make.

What have been the highlights of the Project so far?

The highlight has really been the agreement at the FISA steering group to adopt the Tilhill Forestry project and to form a dedicated FISA working group. It means the industry have really bought into the project and now can move it forward and take it to the next level.