Five Important Ways to Improve Safety in the Forestry Industry

Physical safety is among the biggest challenges for the forestry industry. In the last decade, 24 arborists have been killed while working – and nearly 1,400 have suffered an injury¹. It currently ranks as the industry with the most fatal accidents in the UK – with 8 times more than the second placed Construction ².

Of course, some level of risk is inevitable in an industry where individuals are working at heights and operating equipment like chainsaws and often working alone. But there are many decisions project managers and leaders can make to ensure their people are safe and secure.

In this article, we explore five important ways Welfare Hire and Access Hire help equip our forestry partners for improved safety, using our range of vehicle mounted access platforms, mobile welfare units and mobile lighting towers:

1. Secure vehicles for working at heights

Falling from heights accounts for nearly a quarter of all workplace deaths in the UK³, and is the single most common cause of injury in forestry. This means extra attention needs to be paid to the vehicles and equipment used to undertake such work.

Access Hire’s market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms provide the robust support workers need to work at heights. With two person baskets and advanced platform controls, workers feel in control and able to navigate challenging conditions with confidence.

2. Comfortable space to rest

The links between poor quality rest and accidents in the workplace are well established. But in an industry like forestry, onsite errors can lead to far more severe outcomes than most.

Welfare Hire’s innovative mobile welfare units are designed to ensure this is never an issue. They provide up to 20% more internal space for rest, along with a range of vital amenities, comfortable seating and high-quality facilities, so your people are always able to relax during down time and stay present on the job.

3. High-quality lighting towers

Working during periods without natural light is vital to deliver most forestry projects. But this leaves you vulnerable to lighting failure – which not only causes disruptions, but can lead to health and safety risks.

Welfare Hire’s eco-friendly lighting towers provide the perfect solution, providing high-quality, energy efficient light that allows you to keep the work area properly lit at all times. The X-EcoHYBRID LITHIUM lighting tower, for example, offers a whopping 445 hours of continuous light per refill.

4. Reliable support

Equipment failure causes disruption to forestry projects – especially those that are in very remote, difficult-to-reach locations. But it also presents a risk to onsite safety, as malfunctioning equipment may lead to accidents or errors.

This is particularly so given the environmental challenges faced by forestry projects; in a recent survey, 15% of forestry professionals cited “Mother Nature” as the single biggest challenge they face.

As a result, these businesses must have reliable support on hand to handle any issues their specialist equipment presents. Both Welfare Hire and Access Hire provide just such help, with 24/7 dedicated expert support available to every client

Kelling Group Access Hire Maintenance

5. Regular service and maintenance

Reliable support is important, but so are preventative measures. That is why Welfare Hire and Access Hire each also pride themselves on providing regular, rigorous maintenance on all of our vehicles that goes above and beyond the regulatory standards.

We take care of LOLER testing of our vehicle mounted access platforms; every welfare unit undergoes a 62-point pre-delivery inspection; every vehicle mounted access platform undergoes a 50-point pre-delivery inspection; and we ensure seamless delivery of every vehicle, to keep our customers working at all times

1.https://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/areyou/tree-surgeon.htm
2.https://www.forestryjournal.co.uk/news/20269825.forestry-among-highest-rate-deaths-work-related-accidents-uk/
3.https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf
4.https://www.forestryjournal.co.uk/news/20269825.forestry-among-highest-rate-deaths-work-related-accidents-uk/
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525209/
6.https://www.treeservicesmagazine.com/tree-care-management/industry-survey-results-2017-outlook/

Why Taking a Break Can Be the Best Thing For Employee Productivity

64% of construction workers want their employers to do more to support their mental health. But beyond simply hiring a mobile welfare unit, how can contractors ensure their people remain happy, healthy and productive?

A huge body of research suggests a simple answer: let them take proper breaks. From improved concentration and decision making to higher levels of wellbeing and happiness, regular rest on the job is essential.

The problem is, most leaders don’t know how to encourage break taking – and many see breaks as harmful to productivity.

In this article, we bust that myth, exploring why breaks matter – and how Welfare Hire’s mobile welfare units encourage their workers to take them.

THE POWER OF BREAKS

When a person focuses on a single task for a prolonged period, their capacity to pay attention quickly depletes¹. They are more likely to make mistakes or bad decisions, and are generally less productive over an extended timeframe.

Breaks allow an individual to “reset”, regaining their focus and segmenting their day into more manageable chunks. This has been found to improve concentration², reduce stress³ and increase engagement. The net result is to actually improve productivity, especially when considered over a period of multiple days or weeks.

Perhaps most strikingly, regular breaks actually change the way people see their jobs. They are likely to see their role more positively when they are allowed to take regular breaks in a welfare van or unit, leading them to feel better about what they do and find more meaning in their work. This can be a profound shift, helping create a better on-site environment, improve retention and build a positive workplace culture.

Kelling Group Onsite Mental Health - Staff Welfare on Construction Sites

Getting the balance right

While breaks are important, they can also become counterproductive. One study pitches the maximum as 12%. Taking breaks that amount to more than this tends to have a negative effect on wellbeing and productivity – probably because inertia kicks in,  and workers simply want to stay relaxing in the mobile welfare unit.

This has led research to the concept of “microbreaks”: brief activities that break up the monotony of the day. This could be anything from a short chat with a coworker to making a coffee. The point is that the “microbreak” is separate from work – and something the person actively enjoys doing. 

Leaders that enable workers to take this sort of “microbreak” will benefit immeasurably – but how can they do that?

How Welfare Hire helps

At Welfare Hire, we include a welcome pack with every mobile welfare unit. It consists of basic daily amenities, like coffee cups, tea bags, and a delicious range of biscuits.  But the effect is surprisingly powerful. 

These amenities make for perfect “microbreaks” inside the welfare van or unit, and help your employees habituate healthy breaks. Simply making a cup of tea, eating a biscuit, or sitting for five minutes is all most people need to reset and refocus. And along with the kitchen facilities and a break-out room our portable welfare units provide, Welfare Hire’s welcome packs ensure you have everything needed to facilitate those breaks.

1.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208131529.htm
2.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494415000328
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20835716
4.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978915005223 5.https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-12793-001 6.https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1947706

Tea Break with the Team – Meet Harry

To kick off our tea break with the team series, we had a chat with Harry Kidd, our recently promoted National Sales Manager. Harry looks after key accounts and works closely with the sales team to ensure everything sails smoothly.

Tell us a little bit about your role Harry

I have been with the company for around 2 years, starting as a business development manager. This role allowed me to work with clients all over the country in several different sectors. The responsibilities of the role included developing relationships with new and existing clients, putting me right in my element of getting out there and speaking to people!

I was very recently promoted to National Sales Manager; this new role includes managing key accounts and working closely with the sales team. I am very excited about this new challenge and can’t wait to get going!

What did you do before joining Access Hire?

I graduated from the University of Gloucestershire with a degree in sports science. However, I quickly changed my career path by going on a sales graduate scheme, allowing me to see how a business operates from every possible angle. Once I finished my scheme, I entered the hire industry, where I am today!

What do you enjoy most about working here?

Two things stand out to me. Firstly, it’s getting out there speaking to customers face-to-face, and building long-lasting relationships. The other is the team and culture of the company, it is an ever-growing, fast-paced environment meaning no two days are the same.

What do you like about what we do?

The willingness to provide the best possible service and quality of products makes it a privilege to work for the company. Knowing that the company is always heavily investing in improving the fleet and overall service makes speaking to customers very enjoyable as I can be upfront and honest at all times.

What do you do in your free time?

I play rugby league semi-professionally for the Dewsbury Rams, regularly play golf, and support Leeds United.

Tell us something we don’t know about you

I once met and sang with Paul McCartney in Paros, Greece!