March 2016 - Silviculture Hazards and Risks How to Identify and Control Them

Workers in the silviculture sector face many hazards and need to understand how to control them to stay safe at work. This alert lists some of the common hazards faced by tree planters and brushing crews.

A hazard is the thing or condition that can hurt you. The risk is how likely the hazard is going to cause an injury. It’s important to understand these ideas because you want to identify which hazards have the highest risk and deal with those first.

What controls are going to work best to keep you safe this season? Eliminate the hazard if possible. For example, if you have a bear in the block; move to a different area to eliminate the hazard. Have a look at the diagram on the right to see what other controls can be used.

Do you know the controls that will keep you safe this season?

A good assessment of the worksite (the blocks and access roads) is critical to find the hazards, determine what the risks are and come up with controls to reduce the risk of an injury occurring.

Driving on Resource Roads

Hazards and Risks: Collisions, roll-overs, and driving off the road.

Controls: Pre-plan your trip, use a well maintained vehicle, choose the appropriate speed for the conditions, use the truck radio appropriately, don’t follow too close, and avoid distractions.

Operating ATVs

Hazards and Risks: Roll-overs, collisions, muscle strains.

Controls: Get training on the limitations of ATVs, control speed, and avoid steep side slopes and deep road deactivations.

Overuse Injuries

Hazards and Risks: Joint injuries from repetitive movements at work.

Controls: Develop pre-season fitness, keep muscles and joints warm, practice ambidextrous planting, and learn proper technique from an experienced mentor.

Dehydration and Poor Nutrition

Hazards and Risks: Heat illness, loss of mental focus and muscular coordination.

Controls: Sip (don’t chug) your water, aim for 1/2 cup of water every 15 minutes. Every 2-3 hours stop for a small snack of carbs with low fat protein to fuel up your brain and reflexes.


Hazards and Risks: Bears, cougars and insects.

Controls: Work in groups, keep camps clean, carry the appropriate equipment (bear spray and insect repellant).

Additional Safety Resources:

  1. Resource Road Light Truck Driver Training information
  2. ATV safety information
  3. WorkSafeBC’s “Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries in Silviculture”
  4. Fit to Plant – hydration, nutrition and fitness info for planters
  5. Replant.ca Training Videos


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