We’ve had a number of slip/trip accidents reported recently – one involving a contractor, the other one of our Tilhill Forestry managers.

  • Many might think that, given the time of year and the fact the slips/trips are the single largest cause of accidents in forestry, this isn’t a big surprise.

Though we could easily think of slips/trips as just an occupational hazard, due to the challenging terrain we often find ourselves working in, they have the potential to lead to very serious accidents.

A review of the accidents has highlighted a number of factors we should all have in the front of our minds when in the forest and when thinking about that days Point of Work Risk Assessment/Daily Risk Assessment.

One of the recent incidents occurred before dawn. The injured person was walking from one vehicle to another on uneven ground in the dark – unable to clearly see their footing. A common situation at the beginning and end of the working day at this time of year. If they’d had a head torch on this could have reduced the risk.

In another incident, the injured person was carrying a number of items when they tripped, making it hard to safely break their own fall as they had both arms full. Carrying less by making two journeys or asking someone else to take some of the items could have made a difference.

Both injured persons were wearing wellington boots and both suffered a twisted ankle as a result of their fall. When asked about their choice of footwear, the feedback given was that it was chosen because of wet and muddy conditions.

However, waterproof boots with an ankle support may well have reduced or eliminated the injury.

Each site you work in is different and they change from day to day and even hour to hour in relation to slips and trips so the Point of Work Risk Assessment/Daily Risk Assessment is the important document to use to think through today’s issues and how you’re going to deal with them.

Learning Points:

  • Assess your footwear for the conditions and ensure it provides good ankle support.
  • If you are working at the beginning and end of the day when it could be dark, then make sure you have a torch.

Further reading:

Toolbox Talks

  • Slips, Trips and Falls walking across Planting/Mounding/Harvesting Sites (TT/59)
  • Planning to prevent slips and trips, forestry (TT/66) Guidance Note
  • Slips, Trips and Falls in Forestry (GN/FT/23)