Official website of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association


Guidelines for the safe running of Farm Forestry Association field days and events

Part one − General introduction.

These guidelines are prepared to assist organisers of Farm Forestry Association field days and events in identifying the important elements surrounding the safety of visitors and themselves.  These guidelines can never cover every eventuality or circumstance that could be encountered.  Rather they are a guide and therefore intended to help with the key elements we have identified as being business as usual. 

In general, you should assume that a farm or a forest is a work place which means that the laws relating to health and safety apply. You should always assume that all laws relating to health and safety in the work place equally apply where you are holding a field day.

All organisers of field days need to be aware of hazard identification, wearing safety gear and impart a generalawareness that safety is important. It is very unlikely that you will know all about the laws and the fine detail of the requirements for safety at work. Virtually no one does, but the general application of common sense should see you through. Details about hazard identification and assessing the risks are given in part two of these guidelines.

Importantly, the hazards listed may not cover all those to be found on field day properties.  It is up to organisers to identify all hazards and manage them to ensure attendees will not be placed in a position they might be harmed.

General risk assessment

Forms which will help you work out what the hazards are available from the Safer Farms website and guidance on some principals of risk management may be found at www.safetree.co.nz.

Are you intending to –

  • Invite everyone who hears about it or just current NZFFA members
  • Look at one small woodlot or a range of sites on your property
  • Take people off tracks on steep land
  • Limit the numbers or take as many as turn up
  • Provide any kind of transport on the property

You need to think about what new hazards you may be introducing and who is likely to attend.  If the field day is aimed at helping new or potentially new members they may well not be used to being out in small forestry blocks.  They could be people who are less able to cope with rough or steep tracks.

Finally, before you get on to the detailed risk assessments you should make sure that your insurance policy will cover any problems which may arise. For example, if there is a fire as a result of the field day will your insurance company accept that a field day is covered under the policy?

Part two - Assessing the risks at rural field days

The host or landowner and organisers should meet before the field day to determine which parts of the property are to by visited by the attendees. The proposed methods of moving people on the property should be considered and agreed as being the safe and without risk. The weather including rain, wind and sun should also be considered as part of the safety elements

A meeting before the field day should identify the range of hazards on a property and how they are to be managed. Elimination of hazards is fundamental but if the hazards cannot be eliminated, they should be isolated and people excluded from entering any area with a known hazard.

The following is a list of typical hazards and actions regarding their management. This list is only a guide and you should consider all possible risks on a property.

Non-transport related physical hazards Who is responsible Determine what actions are required to minimise, mitigate or eliminate
Electric fences Land owner Turn off all electric fences in areas to be visited and post notices advising fences are turned off
Farm fences Land owner Is it intended for attendees to climb over or otherwise cross farm fences.  Can they do so safely without tripping of falling
Gates Land owner Are all gates open for the field day? If not, are they properly hinged and can they be opened and closed easily
Loose branches in crowns, sometimes called sailors or widow-makers All All loose, dead, hung up branches should be removed in all areas to be visited.  If they cannot be removed safely these areas should be cordoned off.
Leaning trees All All leaning trees or trees considered to be unstable should be felled, removed or isolated and cordoned off
Overhead wires excluding standard overhead power and telephone wires Land owners All non-standard overhead wires should be clearly marked or flagged and if possible removed
Pipes on surface Land owners Pipes lying on or near thoroughfares should be clearly marked or removed
Farm implements Land owners All implements be stored safely with all equipment  lowered to ground level and any dangerous items marked to keep out.
Farm facilities Land owners All buildings, structures and servicing elements, such as offal pits, must be safe or isolated.

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Transport related hazards Who is responsible Determine what actions are required to minimise, mitigate or eliminate
Farm tracks Land owners If vehicles are to be used on the tracks, all must be able to be navigated safely, including all weather − minimum three metres carriage way, metalled, maximum 1 in 5 slope for four wheel drives and max 1 in 7 slope for two-wheel drive vehicles. Ask a local roading expert if you need to
Farm tracks Land owners Any obstacles, slumps or holes should be clearly marked and easily able to be navigated safely
Use of vehicles for carrying people All All drivers should have current driving licences and vehicles must be in good mechanical condition and have a current WOF or COF and registration.
Riding in or on vehicles All No one is to ride on the back of a moving vehicle, no one to ride on a trailer and no one to be carried as a passenger on a quad bike.  All quad bike and side by side riders must be wearing a safety helmet.
Parking vehicles All All drivers should be aware of the timeframes for the event, have been briefed to know where and how to park such as reverse parking where required
Driver compliance and competency All All drivers should be checked to confirm they are competent in the vehicle intended for use.  They must not be impaired by drugs and oralcohol.
Use of mini vans, buses and people movers Organisers There should be sufficient space for manoeuvring and parking.  People should be able to get on and off safely including to and from the road verge. A traffic management plan is required to cater for difficult turning areas including on to or off public roads

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Environmental hazards Who is responsible Determine what actions are required to minimise, mitigate or eliminate
All All All environmental factors must be considered and an alternative plan should be available if there is a weather problem.
Rain All Will the likelihood of rain affect how and where people will be taken on the property?
Rain All Is there a risk of prior heavy rain causing rising or already high river or creek levels?
Wind All Will strong wind raise the danger levels if entering a forest or woodlot?  How will wind affect the ability to communicate with attendees?
Sun All Is there sufficient shade and water available in it is a hot sunny day?
Other All Are there other environmental hazards to consider which might otherwise put people in danger?

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Part three − Assessing the risks

Meetings, workshops and seminars

The host or property owners and organisers should meet before the event to determine the key elements of how people are to be managed. They should identify the hazards on a property or venue and how they are to be managed. Elimination of hazards is fundamental but if the hazards cannot be eliminated, they should be isolated and people excluded.

This part of the guidelines is a prompt sheet to help you consider the health and safety risks in terms of what you need to prepare for and what happens in terms of what you tell your guests.

Items to prepare for include but may not necessarily be limited to −

  • Car parking
  • Traffic management particularly if your quests are disembarking on a busy road
  • Signage which guides people and their vehicles
  • Safety equipment on site – first aid kits/fire extinguishers which are current and recently inspected
  • Building hazards outside – make sure there are no areas you consider unsafe to allow people access to
  • Building limitations inside – make sure you do not exceed permissible numbers for the venues and exclude people from places where they are no supposed to be
  • Evacuation procedures – check what they are and check exit doors will be unlocked
  • Escape routes – ensure they are adequate for the anticipated numbers
  • Assembly areas – should be known and well-marked
  • Toilets – need to be available, working and cleaned regularly
  • Head counting – if the group is large enough to warrant a head count and make sure you account for numbers in the event of an emergency

Front of house items are set out below as a guide to what you should be covering in your safety briefing. Some of these items may not be applicable but equally there may be some we have not mentioned that could be unique to your site. Consider all elements carefully.

Remember if you are running an event at the same facility over more than one day you are likely to have new quests arriving all the time. You should repeat the safety message at the start of every day and possibly every main session or event.

The following is a list of typical items and actions regarding their management. This list is only a guide and you should consider all possible risks on a property, building or other venue.

Key Item Sub set of item What elements should be included
Entry and exit Doors Where are the key exits how are they marked and or signed?
Stairs Where are the stairs how are they marked and or signed?
Lifts Where are the lifts what are their limitations as to carrying capacity?
Evacuation Messages/advisories How will guests receive a message to evacuate
Actions and behaviour What actions will be taken to enable smooth evacuation?
Assembling Where are the assembly points and how do guests find them?
Numbers Has there been a head count and how will your guests assist with head counting?
First Aid Locations Where are the first aid kits?
Resourcing How do guests identify where to get help?
Earthquakes Actions What to guests do in the event of an earthquake?
Fire Actions What to guests do in the event of a fire?
  Suppression Does the property have sprinklers – what can guests expect?
Toilets Locations Where are the toilets and how many are there of them?
Meals Procedure Where are the meal venues relative to your current location?
Programme Key messages What are the main points to be covered?
What can guests expect from the day and how does the need for safety affect the programme and how things will be run?

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Personal Safety Who is responsible Determine what actions are required to minimise, mitigate or eliminate
Communications − safety All Is there adequate cell phone, phone or two-way radio coverage?
Communications - speakers All Does the known or expected number of attendees warrant the need for a sound system for speakers? How will sounds quality affect the ability to impart important messages including safety briefings?
Location Organisers Has the rapid number, road name and GPS co-ordinates for the location been noted in the event of a need to contact emergency services?
Items to be worn All Is everyone wearing safe and robust footwear?
Is everyone wearing a hi viz hard hat if entering a forest or woodlot?
Is everyone wearing a hi viz vest or similar if entering a working forest or woodlot. If the event is in poor light then hi viz vests should be mandatory?
Are the areas to be visited of sufficient risk to require the need for safety classes?
Children All Are all children under the age of 15 accompanied and or supervised?  Children under the age of 15 are not permitted in operational areas?
Accounting for people Organisers Has a process been organised to count all those attending and then do a check count at the conclusion to ensure all are accounted for?
Catering for people All Has there been provision made for water and toilets being available?
First Aider providers Organisers Are there at least two qualified first aiders on site for smaller days for under 100 people, or higher qualified people for example, St John staff and equipment for days with over 100 people?
Accounting for aged or physically impaired people Organisers Has sufficient planning been undertaken to cater to and older or physically impaired people including how they will be transported or otherwise catered for on the property?

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Induction items guide only, consider all elements on a property  
Review of property and possible hazards – the landowner Cover any of the above considered relevant and or important to this field day
What is intended to happen on the field day with -
  • Fences and gates
  • Wires
  • Obstacles
  • Facilities – water and toilets
  • Excluded areas
  • Points to look out for
  • Transport and driver requirements
  • Status of fences including electric.
Review of field day and health and safety considerations – the organisers Cover any of the above considered relevant or  important to this field day
  • Significant hazards recovered and identified
  • Transport and driver requirements
  • Environmental factors and contingencies
  • Personal safety including what attendees should be wearing
  • Catering for the aged and physically impaired
  • Identifying the first aiders

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Additional safety guide for field days which include harvesting operations

The following provides guidelines a relevant for field days which include harvesting operations. These should be used in tandem with the above guide to property owners and organisers for the running of field days.

If a field day is planned to be held involving harvesting operations detailed pre-planning should be undertaken, with the harvesting contractors and managers if applicable, to determine where attendees may go safely.  Any visit to a harvesting operation should include a detailed induction for all attendees.

A field day plan should be developed showing clearly the timelines for the event together with areas attendees may visit as well and the hazardous areas that have been isolated.

As a general principal the following two basic rules must apply:

  • Viewing a harvesting operation in progress should be undertaken at a safe distance with attendees being able to have a clear view of the operational elements. As a general rule a safe distance should be regarded as at least 100 metres or a minimum 2 tree lengths from any standing trees. Trees being felled, machinery and equipment operating and logging trucks operating will all have safety margins typically well in excess of the minimum tree length rule. Consult with all involved to determine what this should be.
  • Visiting skid sites and or processing areas may only be undertaken when the harvesting operation is completely closed down with all hazards clearly managed to the point of isolation and or elimination. We would discourage such field days unless organisers can be completely confident all factors have been considered and managed.
Matters to consider in the case of viewing operations at a safe distance
Review all possible elements and prepare a field day plan with a copy to be given to all attendees Have all appropriate elements of the Approved Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Forest Operations been considered?

Have all attendees been briefed on or before their arrival?

Are all attendees well out of the way of operations? The minimum 2 tree length rule applies by may have to be significantly greater. Non-standard tree heights and log transport elements should also be considered.

Are all attendees wearing appropriate personal protective equipment appropriate to the safe distance rule and the general safe running of field days guide?

Have all drivers been briefed and clearly understand where to park and where vehicles may or may not enter?
Matters to consider in the case of viewing operations on shut down skid sites or processing areas
Consider all possible elements and prepare a field day plan with a copy to be given to all attendees. Even though an operation is fully shut down, a skid site or processing area should be regarded as an operational area in the context of safety.

Children under 15 years of age are not permitted on or in forest harvesting operations.
Have all attendees been given a copy of the field day plan?

Have all appropriate elements of the Approved Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Forest Operations been considered and managed?

Have all attendees been briefed on or before their arrival?

Are all attendees wearing appropriate personal protective equipment as detailed in the Approved Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Forest Operations?

Have all hazards been identified and isolated including −
  • Fuelling stations
  • Plant and machinery
  • Vehicles
  • Unstable area
  • Unsafe zones
  • Uneven ground
  • Overhead wires and ropes
  • Trees within two tree lengths of the skid site or processing area
Have all log piles been reduced in height and cordoned off?

Are there at least two qualified first aiders on site?

Have all drivers been briefed and clearly understand where and how to park and where vehicles may or may not enter.

 

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