volume: 43, issue:
Work safety in the forestry industry, where chainsaws are used for tree felling, continues to be a top priority. The mobility of workers involved in chainsaw operations between Europe and Asia has become more common in today’s global workplace. Therefore, sharing knowledge about the types of work safety issues found in both regions can be beneficial. Increased knowledge and safety awareness in the workplace can contribute to a reduction in chainsaw accidents. This paper identifies and addresses four key related areas, namely: regulatory frameworks; chainsaw accidents; personal protective equipment and chainsaw training. Information for both regions was evaluated via interviews, questionnaires, direct observation, desk studies, field studies and descriptive statistical analysis. A total of 234 participants responded to the main research questionnaire, which resulted in data analysis of significant questions related to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and possible causes of accidents. Key findings included a need for more information relating to the effect of regulations in individual countries and chainsaw accident and fatality statistics within Asia. A requirement for further research into the suitability of PPE used in Asia was identified. Inadequate training was seen as a primary factor causing accidents in Asia, while in Europe, it was due to chainsaw operators taking shortcuts. Inadequate workplace supervision and a lack of uniform and affordable training provision were common issues identified within both regions. Field tests carried out in accordance with the International/European chainsaw (ICC/ECC) qualification standards of the »non-profit« Awarding Body Association (ABA) International were successful in demonstrating the benefits of uniform training to participants in Europe and Asia. Overall, the study raises awareness of the fatal consequences of risk-taking behaviour to work safety, requiring a better understanding of the problem from a social psychology perspective. It identifies the self-employed or temporary worker groups as high-risk categories in both regions, with younger workers seen to be more at risk of injury in Asia and older workers more at risk in Europe. The findings demonstrate that, while there are differences between the two regions (at least within the participating countries), it is essential to provide quality education and raise skills by training and promotion of supervision in order to prevent chainsaw accidents. This can lead to the development of the building blocks of a holistic approach to safety in forestry work, which, as shown in this paper, can result in a decrease in the occurrence of accidents.