With the woods getting muddy and the roads getting soft, it is time to start thinking about spring training once again. Ah yes, spring training. Every logger’s favorite time of year. Here at the MLA we hope to make this as easy and painless as possible. With 21 first aid classes in 9 different locations across the state, there is sure to be one close to you.
We have made a couple of changes to the first aid video this year, taking out some things that we feel could be redundant, and adding some things that could be more applicable to our industry. And with me as the new safety guy, I am certain that there will be no shortage of screw ups for your comic relief. It is all fun and games until you’re standing in front of 60 guys trying to remember what the heck you were just trying to say.
I’d also like to remind everyone that break-up is always a good time to go through your first aid and trauma kits. Keeping your kits stocked and up-to-date is important. Though we all hope we never have to use them in the field, it would be a bad day if you found yourself in an emergency situation and your kit was not properly stocked with the appropriate supplies. If you aren’t sure what is required in your kit, contact the MLA office for a list. The MLA office has OSHA approved first aid kits in stock, as well as hard hats, hi viz vests, saw chaps, helicopter landing signs and countless other supplies.
This is also a good time to look at your fire extinguishers. Not just the ones in your equipment but any extinguishers you keep in your shop and vehicles. Fire extinguishers should be serviced every 12 months and visually inspected every month. An annual basic service should be done by a trained and accredited technician, with the knowledge and experience to service an extinguisher correctly, safely, and reliably.
While your equipment is home for a while or at a dealer in town, now is a good time to clean out any debris such as limbs and needles that have built up on your machines from months of getting packed in by snow. While cleaning out any debris, take a look at any hoses, fittings, or seals that could be leaking oil. Before you know it, the hot summer temperatures will be here and having a clean and dry machine will help prevent any unwanted equipment fires. No one can afford that kind of setback. Take proper precautions and think ahead.
The general public may think loggers get a break from work in the spring, but we all know that a logger's work is never done. Now is the time to perform maintenance, go through training, maybe update equipment, and prepare for the next season's challenges.
Though we try to visit you all as often as we can in the woods, keeping you up to speed on all thing’s safety, it is always a good idea to have tailgate safety meetings monthly with your crew. This keeps safety at the forefront of everyone's mind, and keeps an open dialogue with the crew about lookout situations on your jobsite.
If you need a new MLA tailgate book, call the MLA office. If you are interested in looking for some new ideas there are several on-line resources available;
The Montana State Fund @ safemt.com
Timber Harvesting & Transportation Safety @ loggingsafety.com
Safety Meeting App @ safetymeetingapp.com
OSHA Safety & Health Topics @ osha.gov/topics
Ally Safety @ allysafety.com (developer of the MLA safety video’s)
Some of the websites are free, and some of them want you to sign up for a fee. Regardless if you want to sign up for a membership with one of these companies or just do some research online on your own time, having some fresh tailgate topics to discuss with the crew is always a good idea.
We are taking time after safety training in Libby, Kalispell and Missoula to offer some assistance in getting your written safety plan updated or started. If you missed your opportunity to attend, let the office know and we will help you get on track.
Lastly, I want to mention our Loggers Expo May 12th in Missoula. The Loggers Expo will have some exciting speakers as well as hands on training this year that we all should enjoy. Who knows, you might even walk away having learned something new and maybe even a prize or two. It should be a good time. You must be pre-registered, so fill out your form and get signed up!
Stay safe and remember $afety $aves!!