Working Safely

Intro | Working Safely | Safety Equipment  | Brushing Tools | Sawing & Chopping Tools | Grubbing & Raking Tools | Digging & Tamping Tools | Pounding & Hammering Tools | Lifting & Hauling Tools | Bark Peeling Tools | Survey, Layout & Measuring Tools | Power Tools | Miscellaneous ToolsTool Repair & Sharpening | Sources for Tools & Supplies

The following trail work safety tips should be covered with volunteers and crewmembers before the start of any trail work.

Proper use begins with a good grip. Wet or muddy gloves may cause a tool to slip from your hands, striking you or someone near you.

Watch out for people around you. When chopping or brushing, be aware of any people in the surrounding area. The combined length of your arm and tool could reach a person working near you. Also, be aware of trail users. Often a user may try to pass right into your back swing. If you see someone coming, stop work, notify your co-workers and wait for them to pass.

Make sure you have a clear area in which to swing. Watch out for overhead or side hazards. A hazard is anything that could interfere with the complete swing of your tool, and knock it from your hands or down onto any part of your body. Keep your tool in front of you at all times. You should never need to swing your tool over your head.

Be alert for hazardous footing. Make sure you have a firm, balanced, and comfortable stance before starting your work. Clear limbs, sticks, loose rocks, or other debris from your footing area. Particularly with striking tools—make sure your feet are spaced well away from your target area.

Choose the right tool for the job. The wrong tool can make you work in an awkward stance which will wear you out.

Make sure your tool is sharp. A dull tool that bounces or glances off of what it was attempting to cut can be very dangerous. A sharp tool will cut faster and be less tiring.

Carry the tool properly. Always carry tools in your hands and down at your side on the down hill side of the trail. Use blade guards whenever possible. Never carry tools over your shoulder.

Travel safely. Stay at least 10 feet apart on the hike in and out from the work site—space yourself along the trail.

Have the right personal protective devices. Along with wearing long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and work boots, crewmembers should have available hardhats, gloves, and safety glasses.