February 2021

Winter Pressure

Winter tends to bring additional challenges to our forest and landscape operations. Reports and inspections from site visits conducted during January show the challenging conditions on site. The main issues arising from precipitation in one form or another.

  • Snow and ice on sites can present obvious slip risks in both vehicles and While freezing conditions can work to our advantage in accessing ground that would otherwise be very muddy and difficult, it can also be a disadvantage, making access challenging. This may be an issue for haulage, meaning timber is not leaving the forest, and timber stacks need careful management. Last month we reported that haulage accounted for a sizable proportion of our near misses in 2020. Snow and ice can also have a direct effect on the emergency services ability to respond to any incident on site, especially in very rural areas.

When the temperature remains above freezing, the precipitation falls as rain. This can cause issues on site at any time of the year, but through winter the conditions worsen with more frequent rain. Our main risk in these conditions is diffuse pollution, but we also have the risks of slippery ground and machines sliding.

We can’t avoid winter and we can’t control the weather, but we can review the situation on site, risk assess and take action to ensure we protect ourselves and the environment.


  • See our latest article in our series highlighting diffuse pollution and our new online training.
  • If you operate machinery on our forestry sites you should have completed the training.
  • Access the training via the QR Code below.