Forestry workers manage natural and commercial woodland across the UK. Tasks can include clearing undergrowth, digging drainage systems, felling trees, clearing footpaths and preventing forest fires. Due to the nature of the work, which can include operating heavy machinery (tractors, diggers etc.) and dangerous equipment such as chainsaws, forestry is considered a high risk occupation. Forestry and Land Scotland emphasise this, reporting that forestry workers are injured and killed every year. Chainsaw workers in particular have a very high-risk role, and one which is physically and technically demanding. Their role includes a wide range of hazards and involves working at height, working on rough terrain and with high power machinery.
The aim of this research is to explore the critical non-technical skills required for safe work within the context of forestry. This is a new collaboration with Forestry and Land Scotland and will encompass a three-year program of research via a new SGSSS Collaborative PhD studentship (2022). Thus far the research includes the following studies:
- Exploratory interview study with chainsaw operators, supervisors and managers to determine the key non-technical skills necessary for safe and effective chainsaw operations.
- Qualitative analysis focused on situation awareness to assess the key situation awareness requirements and influencing factors for chainsaw workers.
The next stage of the research will include a team situation awareness scenario based assessment and further exploratory interviews with forestry workers beyond chainsaw operators.
If you would like to discuss this research further contact Dr Irwin (firstname.lastname@example.org).