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February 2020 - Top 10 Tips for a Safe Start Up

Alert of the Month

Consider the following when starting up your forestry operation after a period of down time.

  1. Basics Done Well – A thorough orientation and retraining of job skills is required including a review and sign off of the Safe Work Procedures (SWPs). When doing an orientation, make sure that the correct way to do the work is demonstrated by the trainer or supervisor and then demonstrated back by the worker(s).
  2. Supervisors On Site – Supervisors must be allowed to spend more time at the worksite during the start up so they can check that the job is going according to plan.
     
  3. Maintenance Complete – All equipment, including PPE and vehicles, should be inspected, confirmed as operating normally and – if necessary, repaired prior to starting the job.
     
  4. Emergency Response Plan (ERP) – ERPs must be included as part of the back to work orientation. Conduct a realistic drill as soon as possible to make sure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
     
  5. Fit for Work – After being away from work, everyone gets physically and mentally rusty. Allow for a slower start up with some flexibility that allows workers to get back into shape and into the right mindset.
     
  6. Resist Production Pressure – After a period of downtime, there is a lot of pressure to make up for lost time. Resist that urge to rush and try to do everything right away. Rushing will lead to problems and incidents.
     
  7. Assess the Worksite and the Workers – Once work has started make sure to assess the site to find and deal with any risks. New hazards may have to be dealt with like danger trees or road issues. Also, assess the workers and reinforce the orientation training they received at start up.
     
  8. Mind on the Task – People are under a lot of pressures – financial, family, and time to name a few. Help workers to manage these pressures so they can keep their mind on doing the work safely.
     
  9. Watch Out for Fatigue – Lack of sleep, changes to sleep and work schedules and physical fatigue from hard work can all contribute to decreased awareness and focus at work.
     
  10. Communication – You won’t be able to anticipate all the challenges that come with a major start up. Keep the lines of communication open, check in with your crew regularly and listen to their concerns and challenges. Everyone should know who they report to and who is responsible for doing what.

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