A groundhog somewhere in Pennsylvania saw its shadow, so apparently, the entire country is about to be treated to six more weeks of winter. You’re in luck - for years, the Forest Resources Association has shared information on the technical and safety aspects of working in cold conditions.
For example, Technical Release 00-R-6: Cold Weather Safety Training Tips, covers a range of issues that loggers, foresters and others working in frigid conditions should review annually. Knowing how to avoid, recognize and treat everyday winter first aid situations like frostbite, hypothermia and trench foot can help prevent workplace incidents and is critical to team safety. Similarly, having and utilizing appropriate protective clothing makes for a safer and more productive workforce.
For Safety Alerts, a quick search shows that there are far too many injuries where winter conditions contributed to an accident. For example, SA 00-S-2: Icy Conditions Contribute to Log Truck Crash, reminds drivers that speeds need to change (sometimes drastically) as conditions on the road change. Another Safety Alert, 12-S-1: Excavator Operator Injured while Pulling Stuck Vehicle, focuses on safety around the use of logging equipment to help a truck stuck in place due to winter conditions.
When considering how freezing winter conditions can cause changes in how materials behave, 16-S-5: Frozen Wood Residuals Load Pins Truck Driver, discussed how chips could freeze into solid masses and ways to address this safely. In fact, Technical Release 16-R-2: Chip Trailer Bed Liner Aids in Cold Weather Dumping, highlights ways to modify trucking equipment to help avoid this hazard.
Winter considerations aren’t all safety. For example, TR 11-R-1: Mechanical Harvesting in Riparian Zones in Winter, discussed a strategy developed by Canada’s FPInnovations on ways to access timber in frozen wet areas. Reporting on research conducted regarding different harvesting methods used to access timber without disturbing soil, this addresses the productivity and roadside costs associated with different harvest methods.
For mills with scales, 16-R-21 A New Angle on Truck Weight-Scale Cleaning provides an ingenious and simple way to keep the area under a scale free of snow, and provide accurate readings. The tool was made from scrap material – something every mill has.
By using the search tool (click on the magnifying glass at the top of the page), you can access decades worth of valuable Technical Releases and Safety Alerts from the FR archives. Just type in the term you want to search, and you’ll find a wide range of FRA resources available to use (for this post, "winter" returned three pages of material).