Posts Tagged ‘Chainsaw Use’

The Key Notch

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

In some cases, trees are hung or snagged because they have been uprooted.  In these situations determining where the loads are concentrated can be difficult, and often the root plate is a stronger force to be considered than the hung tree itself.  Gravity is always acting on mass and never takes a day off.

This uncertain circumstance presents challenges that must be considered when attempting to cut the tree free from obstacles.  The main focus of the cuts I have described in my past two articles (mis-match cut and controlled hinge release) has been to allow the cutter to be at a safe distance when the final cut is released and the tree falls and is cleared from its snagged position.  The use of rope and mechanical advantage allows cuts to be released in a controlled manner and the tree to be pulled from a safe working distance while trying to free it.  For safety’s sake always plan, prepare and use an escape route.  Avoid cutting and releasing a snagged tree while standing next to it by creating a barrier using distance and rope.  The further away you are from the snagged tree, the better (within reason), but a good rule of thumb is to be a distance away that is equal to the height of the snagged tree.

The key notch is a technique for freeing a hung or snagged tree that releases all holding wood while maintaining control until a pull force is applied.  It takes some time to cut and works well on trees that are hung and snagged where the compression and tension forces are very difficult to identify, such as with uprooted trees.

First evaluate and determine the zones most likely under compression and tension.  In the case of an uprooted tree, the compression and tension zones can be exactly opposite that of a tree in the same hung or snagged position that is not uprooted.  The techniques of the key notch will work the same for either situation.  This is why it works well for trees where it is difficult to determine how much force the root plate is applying.

The key notch is made by making five cuts into the trunk; the first three cuts utilize the bore cut technique, cutting through the trunk and forming a tongue and groove – or ‘key’.  The tongue and side of the groove should be of equal size or thickness.  This is determined by dividing the trunk diameter into three equal parts.  In order to properly form the key notch, it is necessary that the trunk be at least three times the diameter of your chainsaw bar width.

key notchBefore making the final two cuts, wedges are installed to prevent saw bind and pinch.  The wedges are placed under the tongue on both sides of the trunk and wedges can also be inserted into the sides of the key as well.  This requires several wedges, but a minimum of two will often work.  The fourth cut is made in the compression zone and the final cut should be placed in the area of the trunk that is determined to be under tension.  By releasing a load in tension the kerf should open and allow the key notch to be completed without any bar pinching.  KeyNotch with wedges1blog

KeyNotch with Mechanical Advantageblog

Using mechanical advantage to pull the the snagged tree free.

Once the cuts are completed the worker should retreat to a safe working distance and pull the snagged tree out of the key, using a pre-installed pull line.  Pulling the tree out of the key may require more force than one person can apply and that is where mechanical advantage is incorporated into the pull.

It is my intention in writing these articles and sharing techniques, to add tools and techniques to the mental toolboxes of workers who use chainsaws to cut trees that are hung and snagged during or after storm events.  I realize that there are many different tools and techniques and I always encourage workers to stick with ones that have worked well for you.  I also equally encourage everyone to always keep an open mind and give new techniques a chance and a try.  See if they work for you, and when they do you have another tool for the toolbox!

Success Chainsaw Train the Trainer Event!

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Last week near Caroline, AB – a successful week of Chainsaw Train the Trainer.  Here is a re-cap!

https://vimeo.com/110079520

Group Photo 2014 Caroline, AB

Arboriculture Canada is a National Awarding Body (NAB) with the ABA (Awarding Body Association) International.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

We are proud to announce that we have been accepted as members of the ABA International body.  Arboriculture Canada is now a National Awarding Body (NAB).  We would like to introduce the ABA to our customers in Canada, and especially the candidates who have successfully achieved qualification status (chainsaw) through our testing process in the past years.   (other domains to come)

This article will introduce you to the ABA International, and tell you what credentialing through the ABA can do for you.    http://www.aba-skills.com/about.php

Who is the ABA?

ABA International (Awarding Body Association) was founded in 2012 in response to a demand for international recognition of qualifications gained at state or national levels. The trans-national mobility of qualified people facilitated by a voluntary partnership of national awarding bodies is a core principle of ABA.

ABA is managed on a minimum administrative basis in a cost effective manner. A simplified organisational structure provides each member country equal representation within the association.

National awarding bodies (NAB) are subject to an International accreditation and vetting process. Core to quality assurance and uniformity of the qualifications is the principle of trans-national supervision. In support of this principle ABA continuously develops, updates and enhances International qualifications skills standards & matrices.

Partner agreements include general procedures for cooperation; transfer of qualification credits; national awarding body responsibilities; certification endorsement etc.

Further, ABA endeavours to promote the mutual recognition of its member’s qualifications world-wide therefore reducing or removing potential barriers to employment and mobility.

The ABA’s Mission:

To facilitate, accredit, develop, support and promote the recognition of individuals national skills qualifications and certifications between partner countries worldwide

THE ABA’s Mission Objectives:

Establishing & setting certification standards: undertake a continuous review & improvement process to ensure they remain consistent and rigorous Quality assurance of the certification: ensure validation of content, currency, delivery and review methods are consistently maintained and comparible

ABA has the following key roles:

  • Qualification development: maintaining a support network with international educational advisors
  • National Awarding Body support: ensuring good practice is maintained, encouraged, developed and facilitating communication
  • National Awarding Body external inspections & vetting process: facilitating trans-national observations of training & assessment practices and awarding body audits
  • Promoting the principle of continuous improvement: facilitating exchange opportunities between National Awarding Body instructors, assessors and educational advisors

Why Get ABA Certification?

National skills certification demonstrates that you have achieved a recognised standard within your skills or chosen occupational sector. In addition, the ABA International ‘stamp of approval’ on your certification provides the following benefits:

  • Enhanced mobility: instant participating partner country recognition no need to re-take already proven training or skills tests to work abroad (saving time & money)
  • Enhanced employability: demonstrates your competency at an international level to current or potential future employers(helping to break-down barriers)
  • Enhanced credibility: demonstrates proof of your skills verified to rigorous national and international standards (high quality)

Are you an Arboriculture Canada Qualified Technician in a Chainsaw Domain?

Arboriculture Canada has been given equivalency for chainsaw qualification with the ABA in the following chainsaw training domains.  If you have taken a chainsaw qualification test and successfully become a Qualified Technician in one of these domains in the last five years (since January, 2010), you will be receiving an email inviting you to register yourself for the ABA Certification.  The only thing required to receive this ABA Certification is a $12 processing fee and you will then be registered with the ABA Registry (which is an online registrar).  You will immediately be registered as an ABA Certified Candidate internationally.

Arboriculture Canada Chainsaw Qualification Programs and ABA Equivalencies:

Arboriculture Canada Qualification ABA Qualification
Chainsaw Safety & Cutting Techniques (Chainsaw Operator Technician) Chainsaw Level 1:  Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross-cutting Techniques
Technical Tree Falling & Cutting (Tree Faller Technician) Chainsaw Level 1:  Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross-Cutting Techniques andChainsaw Level 2:  Basic Tree Felling Techniques
Hazard & Danger Tree Cutting & Falling (Hazardous Tree Falling Technician)  (provided you have received the Tree Faller Technician) Chainsaw Level 3:  Advanced Tree Felling Techniques andChainsaw Level 4:  Windblown & Damaged Tree Felling Techniques.

For any candidates who have taken customized tests with Arboriculture Canada through your organization or company in the chainsaw domain, please contact Nancy to inquire which equivalency is applicable to your test.

Arboriculture Canada is choosing to endorse and support the goals and aims of the ABA, as we believe that the intentions align nicely with our corporate vision and the recognition of ABA qualifications around the world will serve to improve the safety of working arborists and chainsaw operators.

Review of European chainsaw fatalities, accidents and trends

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

An interesting article on European chainsaw fatalities, accidents and trends.  http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/9PYNtwS2zW2FdAAX3p2T/full

Arboriculture Canada delivers Utility Tree Trimmer and Worker Training in Alberta – March, 2013

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

This March saw the first off campus delivery of the Utility Tree Worker (UTW)/Utility Tree Trimmer (UTT) training program in Alberta.  The Industrial Vegetation Management Association of Alberta (IVMAA) oversees the training program and certification of the provincially recognized certification. The UTW/UTT certification, is an Alberta provincially recognized certification that is mandatory for all persons who perform vegetation maintenance around energized power lines and ground work around energized power lines. It is also recognized by Saskatchewan and Manitoba through IVMA ManSask.   Before candidates can apply for this certification, they must take the UTW/UTT training program as this is a mandatory course required by all persons seeking to receive their UTW/UTT certification.

The IVMAA is the only recognized organization that can issue these provincially recognized certifications for successful UTW/UTT graduates. Successful candidates must have completed this training program and also accumulate 1200 hours working in proximity to energized electrical equipment, and these hours must be logged and verified in a log book by an already accredited UTW/UTT. The difference between a UTW and a UTT is that a UTT has to log a minimum of 600 hours working in proximity to energized electrical equipment from an aerial position.

The training component has been and continues to be traditionally delivered by Olds College in Olds, AB.   Arboriculture Canada has been getting requests for many years from customers who would like to get the UTW/UTT training but are unable to send their people away for two weeks or who missed the window when the course was offered at the college and are unable to wait until the next offer.

Arboriculture Canada delivers training components in their regular courses offerings to customers across Canada that is also part of the UTW training program and therefore has the resources to develop course content and materials for a Utility Tree Worker Training program. ArborCanada made a request through application to the IVMAA seeking recognized equivalence to the IVMAA UTW/UTT course.

Through a process of communications and meetings, Arboriculture Canada’s program was granted equivalency and a successful delivery of the program was completed in early March at an off campus location. This program was the culmination of many years of hard work, meetings and passing stringent requirements and in the end it was the first time since the beginning of the IVMAA UTW/UTT certification program that it was delivered off campus and the first time a private training company has delivered the course.  Arboriculture Canada’s course is stringent and broad in scope and combined with the electrical training it encompasses 13 days of training.

The group that received the training in March of 2013 was the East Prairie Metis Settlement. The Metis are first nation people who started families with the white settlers in the 1800’s.  There are over 500 thousand Metis in Canada today. The training took place at their site and location, near High Prairie Alberta, where the Great Plains and the boreal forest converge – a land of lakes, rivers, aspen, spruce and pine and the theoretical in-class learning was complimented by tying knots by the fire, climbing, rigging and other practical hands on time in the field.

Congratulations to the successful graduates of the first off campus Utility Tree Worker and Utility Tree Trimmer training and qualification program.

 


Trapped or Pinned – 5-15-90 Rule – Video testimonial

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Trapped or Pinned – 5-15-90 Rule – Testimonial

Terry from the City of Winnipeg shares his experience of being pinned by a tree as it fell to the ground.

City of Red Deer arborists demonstrate the safe felling of a dead, snagged tree.

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Jill demonstrates the safe felling technique of a dead and snagged tree, with the assistance of her co-workers using mechanical advantage and a pulling line.

Controlled Hinge Release – releasing lodged or hung up trees.

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

In my last article I shared a technique for safely releasing lodged or hung up trees.  I am going to expand on this concept in this article.

One disadvantage of the mis-match cut is that in some cases, the vertical wood fibre lamination may release before the saw operator is at a safe distance away.  It is a rare occurrence, but it can happen and is an example of why alternative techniques are always good to have in the mental toolbox.

The controlled hinge release is another technique for releasing hung or snagged trees that can offer some additional control when cutting these types of trees.

Controlled hinge release techniques at work.

The controlled release hinge technique is employs the use of a notch and also requires the hinge to be established using a bore cut.  The notch and hinge are set before the final back cut is made and optimizes safety by using a mis-matched back cut and a pull line to release the tree when the operator is ready and clear of the danger zone.

An open face notch is cut in the opposite side of where the pull line is installed. This way when the tree is pulled, the notch closes and the tree hinges towards the pull line. The placement of the notch should not only consider the pull line direction but also the side that best facilitates the dislodging of the snag or hung tree.

Preparing to by-pass the strap.

The bore cut establishes the hinge which should be made thinner than normal when dealing with a standing tree.  Instead of the standard 10% to 7% of diameter, a maximum of 5% to 3% should be used. This is due to the lack of bending moment that exists in hung or snagged tree scenarios.  A limitation of this method is that it is best suited for large enough diameter tree where there is enough wood behind the hinge to allow for the bore cut to be made and in situations where the butt of the tree is not attached to the roots or dug into the ground.

First attach a pull line to the tree and install any mechanical advantage needed to pull the tree. Once the notch and hinge are cut, you will have the small portion of wood left uncut at the back of the tree – commonly called the ‘strap’.  The final step is to place a by-pass or mis-match cut just below the bore cut and cut far enough so that this kerf passes the kerf above, creating a mis-matched strap. This will hold or control the release of the tree until a load is applied to the pull line.

The strap releases and the tree will fold or ’walk’ in the direction of the pull line when the tree is pulled.  Often this action is enough to dislodge the hung tree or snag.  If it does not, the line is moved up and the technique is repeated. The repeated cuts move the snag or hung tree in a lateral direction, encouraging it to dislodge and keeping the snag from becoming more vertical where it is likely to fall unpredictably when it dislodges. The controlled release hinge maximizes cutter control and safety.

Bore cutting the back cut of the controlled hinge release.
Safe working distance.
Using mechanical advantage to dislodge a snag.

An article is no substitute for hands on training and this article is intended to stimulate thought.  I trust my description along with the photo’s can help you to understand this very effective technique for freeing hung or snagged trees.

Too often a variation of this technique is used with a conventional back-cut, where the notch is cut in the upper side of the snag and the hinge is formed with the cutter standing right beside the tree and a very quick and abrupt jump is made in an attempt to escape as the tree releases and hinges.  Control is not part of this technique and can result in the cutter being struck or pinned by the butt of the tree.  This technique also moves the tree closer to the snagged or hung obstacle, causing the tree after frequent attempts to become more and more vertical resulting in a very large and dangerous drop zone.

It is a known fact that 90% of all tree cutting accidents occur within 5 feet of where the final cut is made, within 15 seconds of the tree beginning to fall or hinge. This is called the 5-15-90 rule. It stands to reason that if the tree can be released at a distance greater than five feet and before falling or hinging action begins that the likelihood of being injured is reduced by 90%. It is with this thought in mind that the controlled release hinge is utilized.

In my next article I plan to share another technique which is well suited for scenarios where an uprooted tree is hung or snagged, or where the butt of a snagged or hung tree is dug deep into the ground.

Dwayne Neustaeter

CUT STRAIGHT!

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

  Arboriculture Canada chainsaw instructors and associates gathered together for Chainsaw Instructor Intensive Training Camp 2011, in the Peterborough, ON region at Elmhirst’s Resorts from Jan. 30 – Feb. 4th.  The purpose:  to review, develop and collaborate together on improving our teaching techniques and updating our course resources with a specific focus on technical tree falling, hazard & danger tree cutting and advanced chainsaw safety, operations and maintenance.

Nine instructors and industry experts from Canada and the US attended this intensive train the trainer program.  The group included: 

Dwayne Neustaeter – Train the Trainer Instructor

Dave Ward – Arboriculture Canada Instructor

John Ransom – Arboriculture Canada Instructor

Mark Cooke – Arboriculture Canada Instructor

Matt Logan – Arboriculture Canada Instructor

Danny LeBlanc – Arboriculture Canada Instructor

Michael Harrell – North American Training Solutions Instructor

Bob Smith – Humber College Instructor

Andrew Hordyk – Arboriculture Canada Instructor

Instructor Group - Chainsaw Intensive Train the Trainer

The program included an in depth analysis of the competency profiles for each of the chainsaw modules offered by Arboriculture Canada.  Teaching templates, power point materials, course workbooks and exam questions and format for all blocks of instruction in our chainsaw modules were reviewed and discussed.  The purpose of this process is to ensure that skills, techniques and methods are safe and modern and instructional material is consistent across the country in the following modules: 

  • Chainsaw Safety & Cutting Techniques
  • Technical Tree Falling & Cutting
  • Advanced Hazard & Danger Tree Cutting & Falling
  • Hazard & Danger Tree Cutting Techniques for Power Service Restoration

This panel of experts in our industry draws on a combined 150 plus years of experience using chainsaws and working in the urban forest, from owning and operating tree services, working for municipalities and teaching in college environments.  This experience, expertise and shared knowledge serve to strengthen and improve course curriculum and teaching methodologies of our courses.

Attendees delivered a block of instruction in camera and before their colleagues, which was followed by a peer review and feedback session on all aspects of the instruction, including the strengths and weaknesses; from introduction, use of accelerated teaching techniques and suggestions on ways to increase retention and the effectiveness of teaching the content.  A day was spent in the snow at the edge of the lake, studying and practicing advanced tree falling and cutting techniques.  An evening of chainsaw maintenance in the shop, tearing down saws, examining maintenance practices and learning from each other was a techie’s dream.

Our customers will see new course workbooks for all chainsaw training modules in 2011.  A complete rewrite of these modules has recently been completed, with accompanying photo’s, diagrams and illustrations to better supplement the learning during the training programs.  These new workbooks provide additional resource material which will strength the retention of learning and supply a resource that can be used following the course to remind students of the skills that they learned.  In time, this learning resource will be available for sale to arborists and chainsaw professionals outside of our student groups and around the world.

The mantra of the week – ‘Cut Straight’ – reverberated strong and was heartfelt.  Each instructor is passionate about teaching, and is especially passionate about reducing the accidents and fatalities caused by chainsaw accidents, cuts, and ‘struck-by’s when falling and cutting trees.  This week was dedicated to studying the techniques used in chainsaw operations and tree felling, as well as learning and practicing teaching skills that will continue to make the programs delivered by Arboriculture Canada instructors effective and leading edge.

The unique personality, passion, authenticity and power of purpose was evident and strong in this group.  Arboriculture Canada is proud and privileged to be associated with such quality people.  To quote the creativity and quick wit of Bob Smith – all our customers can be assured that our instructors ‘gauge the depth of their cutting edge personalities’! 

Arboriculture Canada offers instructor training privately for small groups of people.  Contact us to learn more about how you can get instructor training that reveals the secrets of how to deliver high energy, memorable and effective presentations using adult learning techniques such as; suggestology, accelerated learning, edutainment and educomedy.

Chainsaw Intensive Train the Trainer – A Glimpse!

Back-Cuts, Hinges & Control (Article 6)

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
 

This is the last in a series where I have been discussing a sequenced planning method to tree felling.  When read in sequence, the articles combine to describe an effective tree felling planning process. It has been my intention to encourage readers to think about many aspects when felling trees – with the focus being on tree faller safety.

It is important to remember that some tree felling techniques developed from years of trial and error and in field practice and in all cases deserve our respect and acknowledgement. It is difficult to produce conclusive scientific data that verifies certain aspects of tree felling techniques, due to the many variables that are at work when dealing with living organisms such as trees.

Remember that new tools cannot get into a toolbox when the lid is closed.  An open mind is like an open toolbox and new tools when tried and proven are a wise addition.

In most cases, the back-cut is the final step when felling a tree.  The back-cut removes the wood left preventing the notch from closing, it also forms the hinge wood. The hinge wood is the wood left uncut behind the notch and is what provides control and guidance to a felled tree. It is important to understand that the hinge can only offer control as long as it can work; when the hinge fails, control is lost.

Cutting & Forming the Hinge
 

Traditional Back Cuts

A crosscut saw was the tool of choice and for generations back-cuts were cut by hand with a crosscut saw, cutting from the back of the tree towards the notch.  The modern chainsaw and tooth design offers us alternatives to this traditional method. The notch selected should be considered when deciding where to place the back-cut. Traditionally it has been recommended to raise back-cuts above the apex of the notch.  This technique (called the stepped back-cut) forms a step or back stop and minimizes a tree from sliding backwards off the stump causing great risk to the faller. It is important to raise back-cuts whenever felling a tree with a small notch opening such as 45 degrees or less. In these cases, the hinge will have to break when the face notch closes. After all a notch with a 45 degree or less notch aperture will have to break the hinge and as a result will lose control when the tree in most cases is only half way to the ground. A limitation of a small notch aperture is that it forces hinge failure before the tree reaches the ground, thus causing loss of control and gravity takes over before the tree is on the ground. If limb tying or felling obstacles are present that could snag the falling tree a stepped back-cut is also advisable regardless of notch opening.

Open Face Notch