Inadequate guarding found on mobile plant used in forest industry

WorkSafe inspectors identified items of plant being used in the forest industry with inadequate guarding. The inspectors have identified excavators:

  • being used under the forest canopy with glass windows in the operator’s cabin (glass could shatter if struck by an object)
  • with HEX mounted cut off saws that do not have a chain catcher attached (to reduce the incidence of chain shot occurring if the saw chain breaks)
  • with HEX mounted cut off saws without a limit switch attached (to prevent the saw operating when the dipper arm/stick is angled back towards the operator’s cabin).

The Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must provide and maintain safe plant. This includes by ensuring all machines used in forestry operations are fitted with a protective structure, or made of material that will reduce the risk of injury to the operator when driving, should the machine:

  • overturn, roll over or tip over, and crush the cabin
  • be struck by a falling object, or
  • be struck by an object that might enter the cabin.

For example, this might mean ensuring machines are fitted with a roll-over cage, and any glass cabin windows are replaced with a polycarbonate-type material that will achieve compliance with the standard set out in section 10.7 of the Forest Safety Code (Tasmania) 2007.

Note: Any reference in this Forest Safety Code to ‘WST Guide 33’ means a reference to the Australian Standard AS2294.1 Supplement 1–2003: earth-moving machinery–Protective structures–General–Operator protective structures fitted to plant used in the timber industry (forest operations).

The PCBU must also ensure all machines with HEX mounted cut off saws attached have:

  • a chain catcher attached in accordance with the saw supplier’s specification, to prevent (as far as is reasonably practicable) chain shot occurring if the saw chain breaks
  • a functioning limit switch attached in such a way as to prevent the saw operating when the dipper arm/stick is angled at less than 90 degrees to the ground and towards the operator’s cabin.

Resources

Forest Safety Code (Tasmania) code of practice


First published in August 2014

Updated: 9th December 2019