Debogging and recovery of forestry machines

What you need to know

This page covers the safe working practices to follow when recovering machines that have become bogged down during forestry and other tree work. When traction is lost, the operator should stop the machine as soon as possible. The deeper the machine is bogged in, the greater the forces needed for recovery and the greater the risk of injury, equipment failure or damage.

What you need to do

Risk assessment

Before work begins, you must do a site- and incident-specific risk assessment must be to identify on-site hazards and specify the necessary controls. Your assessment will need to include:

  • Standing/damaged trees
  • Ground conditions
  • Machine conditions
  • Manual handling of debogging equipment.

Plan travelling routes and avoid, or thatch, any wet or rutted areas. If in doubt, use an alternative route if you can, and be prepared to stop work if the site becomes too wet.

All operators must receive training in how to operate the equipment and to do the tasks required.

When traction is lost

If a machine becomes bogged, the operator should:

  • Stop all drive to tracks and/or wheels
  • Make the machine safe
  • Dismount the machine safely (eg Climb off it on the high side when on a slope, if practicable)
  • Assess the situation
  • Advise the site safety coordinator and arrange for any assistance that is required.

The safety co-ordinator should:

  • Consider anything that may help with recovery (eg Partial or full unloading)
  • Consider emergency drainage, if safe to do so, where the engine or its components may be damaged by ponded water.

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