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Course Description

This unit of competency describes the outcomes required to assess, plan and safely carry out manual tree-felling operations using a chainsaw.

This unit covers the felling procedures for trees with a level of complexity that requires significant tree assessment and practical felling skills.

Persons competent in this unit should be able to effectively fell most trees except very large trees, and/or those with significant defects and/or characteristics that cause excessive complexity.

It applies to trees that have a diameter greater than the bar length of the chainsaw.

Trees typical to the scope of this unit may include the following characteristics:

  • lean and weight distribution, which can be assessed and readily adapted to falling direction with the use of wedges and/or control with hinge-wood
  • various dimensions relative to local forest size distribution
  • limited visible damage or defect
  • species prone to free splitting and adverse reactions during felling
  • single or multi-stems
  • diameter of tree greater than chainsaw bar length
  • grown on terrain and slope that can add complexity to the operation

The unit applies to a non-production environment, including forest, rural and community environments.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Prepare for felling

  • Identify and comply with applicable work health and safety (WHS), environmental, legislative and organisational requirements relevant to felling trees
  • Identify and adhere to site environmental protection measures according to relevant legislation and regulations
  • Review and check job requirements with appropriate personnel
  • Sharpen and adjust chainsaw or change components according to manufacturer recommendations
  • Assess tree and determine felling requirements
  • Identify and control potential and existing risks and hazards in the work area
  • Identify trees to be retained and felled
  • Establish and maintain communication with others according to WHS requirements

2. Visually assess site conditions and surroundings

  • Review terrain and slope to determine if they add complexity to the operation
  • Assess general factors affecting felling requirements and detect and control specific forest or site risks and hazards

3. Assess tree and plan felling

  • Visually assess tree for felling characteristics
  • Confirm tree is safe to fell
  • Select tools and equipment appropriate to work requirements and check for operational effectiveness according to manufacturer recommendations
  • Identify trees to be felled for size, significant defects and any characteristics causing excessive complexity
  • Assess and progressively plan tree-felling sequence for individual trees
  • Assess and check required falling direction and possible deviation
  • Plan sequence of cuts to fell tree according to standard felling procedures
  • Assess limitations of own skills in safely felling trees, identify trees considered outside own skill level and seek assistance from appropriate personnel where required
  • Monitor and exclude location and activity of other personnel on the work site

4. Apply tree-felling techniques

  • Select suitable escape route and clear of growth and other obstacles according to environmental care principles and statutory requirements
  • Fell individual trees using planned techniques according to site requirements, at a safe distance from other personnel in the work area
  • Adjust cutting technique in response to movement and condition of tree
  • Use planned escape route when tree starts to fall and monitor the fall and movement of tree on ground until determined stable
  • Delay movement back into the felling area until all tree material, including from adjacent tree crowns, has fallen
  • Identify and implement procedures for removal of trees that are hung-up
  • Dispose of waste materials in line with environmental and operational requirements
  • Detect, rectify and report blunt or damaged saw chain according to workplace procedures
  • Monitor chainsaw for operational effectiveness and record and report faults, malfunctions and problems according to workplace procedures