This chart was prepared by ATC using trail work job-hazard analyses by US. Forest Service district personnel, AT-club volunteers, ATC volunteer-crew leaders, and ATC management staff. The information provided in the chart represents a distillation of information about accidents that have occurred or that are likely to occur during different types of trail work.
The ATC skills-training and Trail-crew safety policy, adopted by the ATC Board of Managers in April 1993, emphasizes the importance of safety equipment and job-hazard analyses in preventing work-related accidents.
This chart is only a guide. Common sense and awareness are the best tools you can use on any task.
Basic safety equipment for all Trail work should include: sturdy boots, work gloves, long pants, and appropriate dress for the weather.
Maintain tools in good working condition; know your abilities and limits; and take breaks before you are tired.
Perhaps the most important part of any trail-maintenance or trail-construction project occurs during the first few minutes. This is when the project leader should call everyone together and take a few minutes to talk about safety and the proper use of tools. (a.k.a. a "tailgate" meeting)
Safety is a concern for everyone, not just "first-timers.' Some 'old-timers' tend to become complacent and forget about safety, too. Even if there are only a few people involved, it's good to remind ourselves that trail tools - especially swinging tools and cutting tools - can do a great deal of damage to the human body.
Trail Maintenance and
Their Hazards, and Recommended Safety Gear
Basic safety equipment for all Trail work: sturdy boots, work
gloves, long pants, and appropriate dress for the weather.
|Trail Tasks||Likely Job Hazards||Recommended Safety Gear||Additional Comments|
|balds-clearing||sharp tools, back and arm strain, dehydration, loud noise (if using power equipment), lightning, overexposure to sun, rain, or wind||gloves, boots, sun hat, sunscreen, goggles, weed eater harness, and hearing protection (if using power equipment)||Drink at least two quarts of water per day, keep proper spacing between workers, leave ridge crest during lightning storms.|
|brush-cutting||sharp tools, spring poles, loose footing, flying brush, poison ivy, bee stings, snakebites||gloves, boots, goggles, shin guards (optional)||Have soap & wash water available; know who is allergic to bee stings and poison ivy.|
|carpentry||sharp tools, splinters, flying nail chips or sawdust, smashed fingers or thumbs||gloves, goggles|
|chainsaw use||severe, ragged cuts from the chainsaw, kickback, fire, back or muscle strains, falling trees or limbs, loud noise||gloves, boots, chainsaw chaps, hardhat, eye and hearing protection, wedges, extra chain|
|crush and fill (gravel making)||rock shrapnel, splinters or broken tool handles, carpal-tunnel syndrome, working too close to other workers||gloves, boots, goggles, shin guards, hardhats, long pants and sleeves||Keep wrists rigid when swinging sledgehammer; keep proper spacing between workers.|
|log work (peeling, rolling, setting)||sharp tools, slippery logs, rolling logs, back or muscle strain||gloves, boots, shin guards (optional)||Keep back straight, lift with legs or mechanical advantage, work in unison.|
|power-mowing||loud noise, thrown debris||gloves, boots, goggles, hearing protection, long pants||Do not operate near other people; cool engine before fueling|
|rigging (winch work)||frayed cable, improper attachment of load or anchors, standing in the "bite", use of inadequate equipment (climbing hardware), overhead loads, cable hard to see||gloves, boots, hardhats||Station lookouts, inspect equipment frequently, protect trees from damage, avoid improper use of winch (do not be seduced by the power of the winch).|
|rock work||crushed extremities, slippery footing, back or muscle strain||gloves, boots (steel-toed optional), shin guards, hardhat||Keep back straight, lift with legs or mechanical advantage, work in unison.|
|sharpening||sharp tools, flying filings||gloves, goggles, file handle and knuckle guard|
|sidehill-trail construction||back or muscle strain, carpal-tunnel syndrome, sharp tools, slippery footing, steep slopes, working too close to or walking by others||gloves (optional), boots, shin guards, goggles (optional)||Keep wrists rigid, place one foot in front of the other, and keep back straight when swinging or pulling digging tools. Keep proper spacing between workers.|
|tree-felling (non-motorized)||falling trees and limbs, hollow trees, bee stings||gloves, boots, hardhat, goggles, ropes or winches, wedges||Two-person crew, minimum (one as spotter). Know who is allergic to bee stings and poison ivy.|