Snakes a concern for Forests workers

THEY can be a deadly hazard for forestry workers in summer and the race is on to prepare staff for the worst.

Snake awareness will be the focus for Forests NSW crews from across the region at their safety day next week.

"There would be few workers more likely to come face to face with a venomous snake than Forests NSW staff so this is an appropriate time for them to brush up on how to recognise the various snakes in the areas they work in and how to treat any bites," said Forests NSW North East Region manager Craig Busby.

"More than 90 staff will be at the safety day at the Grafton Racecourse on December 9. We hold two all-staff safety days a year as it is a prime focus of Forests NSW."

Mr Busby said Forests NSW had introduced a new safety feature this year with the Take Two initiative.

"This involves any staff starting a new task for the day to take two minutes to assess any potential hazards in performing the work.

"Those two minutes might make the difference between them going home safely at the end of the day or suffering potential long-term injury.

"Another safety issue that has been identified is the number of vehicle accidents that have occurred on gravel roads in state forests.

"There is always the potential for staff or forest visitors to meet log trucks on forest roads or simply find road conditions are different from what they expected.

"After a careful review, Forests NSW has imposed a 60 km/h speed limit on all vehicles travelling on gravel roads within state forests unless they are otherwise signposted.

"In some cases there will also be 40 km/h limits for log trucks."

Mr Busby said it was incumbent on all vehicle users in state forests to follow the road rules.

"State forest roads are treated by the law the same as a public street so if you are unlicensed or your vehicle is unregistered, you are breaking the law and will be subject to police action."

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