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Author Topic: Safety First
Chilterns
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Post Safety First
on: March 25, 2014, 14:30
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When working in the woodland with handtools it is important to work safe.

I came across this picture of a very beautiful girl who is obviously posing for a picture wearing a safety hardhat presumeably to demonstrate the safe and eco friendly collection and use of firewood.

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What is missing from the picture is the absence of good stout gloves and the adoption of a proper safe and secure stance to saw up wood e.g. on a horse or equivalent such that the log or work piece can be held firmly in position thereby preventing movement which might result in a cut hand or (as above) a cut thigh. Kneeling on the ground or worse still on logs is not a good idea as this runs the risk of sustaining a puncture wound from a branch snag, knot or thorn so as an absolute minimum wear protective knee pads.

I recently cut my thumb with a Stanley Jet cut saw and spent the evening in A&E getting the wound stiched and my tetanus shot brought up to date. This was mainly because it was wet, getting dark and I was tired.

Don't go there - get kitted out and work safe.

Chilterns

Chilterns
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Post Re: Safety First
on: July 19, 2014, 13:52
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Whilst searching for old photos of sawpits I came across this one of women woodland workers from the WW II Timber Corps in the Chilterns carrying timbers on their shoulders.

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At first sight this appears to be a jolly bunch enjoying their work however recent personal experience has taught me that carrying logs over one shouder is not a good idea. This practice results in eccentric loads being placed on the spine and especially on the neck and upper back vertibrae which are complicated butterfly shaped and interlinked bones that are much smaller and more delicate than the lower spine vertibrae which closely resemble cotton reels stacked on top of one and other. Threaded between the neck and shoulder vertibrae are nerves that connect the arms to the spinal cord and it is fairly easy for these to become trapped between the vertibrae and maybe even become permanently damaged due to crushing from the imposition of eccentric heavy loads.

A better working solution would be to load and lash the log onto a timber trolley which can then be pulled without any eccentric loading to the spine.

An old golf trolley can be used to carry a hefty 4ft long firewood log over rough ground with the log secured to same using a simple ratchet strap.

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A timber grapple is a much underrated tool which can lock onto and then be used to drag a larger timber along the ground such that at least part of the weight of the log is supported by the ground. Two smaller logs could be carried by one person, with one over each shoulder to help even up loading on the spine but better still is simply to grasp logs in the arms against the abdomen.

The Timber Corps photo also shows most of the girls working in shorts which is not a good idea in a bramble filled woodland or in one which is known to harbour ticks in grassy or bracken filled areas and in summer the dreaded horse fly (clegg). German foresters all wear leather trousers as standard personal protective clothing and as a minimum some thought should be given to wearing a boiler suit or coverall. The lower legs are particularly vulnerable to cuts and abrasions from branches lying on the ground that might spring up unexpectedly when stood upon. Even a thin layer of cotton based cloth will help prevent ground based contaminants entering a wound which will assist with helping to reduce the need for extensive cleaning a wound in the woodland. Wounds need to be cleaned as soon as possible to help avoid infection.

Keep your tetanus jabs up to date !

Chilterns

Chilterns
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Post Re: Safety First
on: August 17, 2015, 08:16
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Museum of Rural Life (Reading) archive photos provide a glimpse of the tools and dress of the Womens Land Army. The women are wearing thick spats to protect the lower legs and a smock type coat which must have made sawing quite a hot sweaty business. We can see that the women are using a 5-6ft salmon bellied saw and also have a large felling axe and a measuring stick.

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Similarly dressed women (maybe the same women) appear in another photo with one of the women holding a pole. The old fashioned measure of timber length was the "pole" or "perch" which was about 16.5ft. In this photo the men are also wearing thick spats. Horsepower is the motive power employed for log extraction.

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A group photograph of woodland workers reveals that 10 out of a total of 20 workers were women all dressed in a similar uniform. Generally the male workers appear to be either old or young boys i.e. groups excluded from military service. Everyone appears to be wearing a hat.

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Chilterns

polbishop2-
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Post Re: Safety First
on: August 20, 2015, 15:47
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You've said it so right - Safety First. This should be a main priority for all folks who are working with not only hand tools, but also heavy machinery or any dangerous chemical. So guys, just don't be heroes and put on your helmets, gloves and anything needed to ensure a perfectly safe working process. Cheers!

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