By Tim Ard
I don’t mean to whine but why is it that all involved in training do not understand what training is? What effective training entails?
The initiative from management is “Safety is First” but they don’t always understand the training process. Risk management is a factor, but time allotment (lack of) and budget win out. I see chain saws that are not maintained properly and a lot of time neither the operators nor their supervision are aware of recognized safety issues like required Personal Protective Equipment. Crews are out working without safety items and required equipment like chain saw leg chaps. If an incident occurs the cost far exceeds the investment in proper training, tools and PPE.
As managers and adult workers, are we taught somewhere that the primary grades of 1st through 6th are a waste? Just skip those and save cost, go right to college. Why do we think in adult education there is not a somewhat timed advance in the learning process?
There is a process, in chain saw operation anyway, that needs to be understood and followed. You see there are a lot of saw operations that conclude daily tasks without mishaps. Many operate them daily, yearly without any safety issues or incidents. Then there are the statistics that exist when storms or disasters occur. There are in most every storm, wind, flood and disaster situation more injuries and fatalities from the cleanup work than the actual event. It doesn’t make since! Much of this I feel is because we are somewhat short sided when it comes to planning for these events. Like Homeland Security, we don’t have everything in place till long after it’s needed.
I remember a conversation with a group in north Alabama after a huge ice storm a few years ago. The person had contacted our office to discuss emergency chain saw training for their community. The storm had hit and he felt it was so important that training happen the next Saturday or there was going to be a lot of people injured. I agreed but had to disagree. I asked him who will attend training Saturday if the weather is good. I said what do you think most people are going to be doing if the weather is good? They will be cleaning up their property. They are not going to come to training. You see, you have to train before the event to prepare. You cannot wait until the event and expect to achieve proper technique and safety.
Then you have those that think a booklet or short video will give the training needed. I don’t know how many times I have heard managers and risk manager’s state that they have a “new” safety procedures manual that will give them what they need in information. All the guidelines are in the manual. How many books do you have from your 12 to 16 years in school? Who in your organization has not read the operators manual for the chain saw they use? The one that gets me… how many company safety manuals don’t include the proper PPE to meet OSHA regulations for their employees. They write without research.
Training has to start with the basics, a review or initial, understanding of planning, basic sharpening, basic maintenance, basic cutting techniques and basic limbing and bucking. What is a notch and hinge… basically! If you can’t discuss those in detail – you don’t know the basics!
We try to spread things to thin sometimes and I will agree every organization doesn’t need to be operating chain saws. If they choose to have them-- accept the training responsibility!