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A significant near miss was averted on a harvesting operation earlier this month. It has underlined the importance that both managers and operators should remain vigilant in considering all the potential significant hazards and constraints both within and outwith the worksite and forest property.


  • A harvester operator’s vigilance prevented a significant near miss when he spotted an overhead powerline outside the forest The red zone, which crossed the marked boundary of the felling coupe, had not been taken into account.

A daily pre-start walk through the work area will ensure a final ground check of any health, safety or environmental hazards and constraints in, or adjacent to, the work site, which could be missed once work is underway. In this instance no trees were felled within the red zone of the overhead powerline and the site will be harvested during a planned shutdown at a later date.

When reviewing the hazards and constraints map, together with the risk assessments and holding pre-commencement meetings, it is important to consider not only the immediate hazard and constraints within the worksite, but also looking around the site and outside the forest to consider aspects such as services beyond the forest boundary.

Forests are large, dynamic work environments with a multitude of health, safety and environmental hazards and constraints which evolve over time. A regular review and update of hazards and constraints maps, site risk assessments combined with a final ground check on a daily basis will ensure they’re effectively controlled.


Think about how the site might change as works commence:

  • A walk through at the start of each day ensures safety controls are checked and confirmed as suitable and sufficient.
  • Previously undiscovered hazards and constraints can be revealed, or hazards can change as work progresses, for example:

                       hidden environmental sensitivities, such as unknown archaeological features.

  • Changing weather and ground conditions may affect planned work.
  • As the site progresses have all neighbouring properties been contacted? Consider if and how the works will impact them.