OSHA Safety Manuals | Yarding Safety (Logging)
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logging safety

Yarding Safety (Logging)

Yarding Safety (Logging)

Yarding is the logging operation that moves felled trees from the slash pile to the landing or storage area prior to transportation. Rigging crews hook cable systems (simple, high-lead, shotgun, skyline, etc.) to the felled trees. Yarding workers manually or mechanically (using skidders and yarders) activate the cable systems to move the logs and slash to the appropriate areas. Moving these heavy materials on often unstable and/or sloping terrain makes yarding a dangerous part of the logging operation.

With careful planning at the felling stage, you can improve the safety of the system for everyone working on the yarding. Ensure that the logging plan leaves plenty of the correct type and size of trees to provide anchor and deflection points for your systems; mark the trees that you will need. If the logging plan requires only partial removal, ensure that the plan allows you flexibility to cut dangerous, dead or poorly placed trees, and substitute suitable trees to provide safe yarding activities. Plan the best yarding system given your circumstances of tree sizes and amounts, slash, terrain, the distance from the felling area to the landing site, and the size and location of your landing site.

Whether you are yarding manually or mechanically, choose the equipment that works for your site and the materials that you will be moving. Make sure that the cables, blocks, and spars are of sufficient size and weight. Choose your landing or storage areas with care. Plan a wide enough area to allow for the safe movement of people and machines and to keep workers out of the load-bearing cable zones. Ensure that the area is stable and as flat as possible. Make sure that logging trucks can maneuver around the area when empty or when fully loaded.

During operations, use extreme caution when working with the cabling systems. The heavy cables can operate under extreme pressure from the weight of the felled trees. This can cause the cables to break loose and “whip” through an area of slash or where workers are present. Loose cables can be propelled slash materials or root balls by. The whipping cables can even fell trees.

Inspect every component of your cabling system for wear and signs of breakage. Stop and replace any items that are not working properly. Don’t “jump” lines when re-setting operations – the slack in the line can create a hazard that is not worth the extra time it would take to do things right. When you place a new tailhold, always run the lines in and pull a new layout in a straight, unimpeded line to ensure that the cables cannot launch materials or snag. String extra lines to prevent hang-ups as much as possible. BEFORE signaling to move a cable, be sure to EXIT the area and maintain a safe distance from the cabling. Following these rules, your hands and your body should be nowhere near the rigging when the cabling pulls taut.

To further ensure your safety, get training on safe and proper yarding methods. Wear personal protective gear such as steel-toed work boots, sturdy work gloves, and head protection. Use good lifting techniques and watch your body mechanics to prevent ergonomic injuries. Get plenty of rest and make sure that you’re alert to your surroundings at all times. Communicate the yarding plan and any changes to the whole yarding crew. Practice communication signals to make sure everyone on the team understands what to do or what will happen.