Unique forestry safety and technology training event

The timber industry is one of the major agricultural industries in the Green Triangle Region. As well as being a green and sustainable industry, it is also progressive and exciting thanks in no small part to the many great advances in technology. Harvesting trees is not simply sending man and machine into the forest to cut them down, but is precision forestry performed by skilled operators using leading edge computer technology and software.
As a major forest owner in the Region, OneFortyOne recently partnered with Waratah, a global producer of mechanised harvesting equipment, and held a series of training sessions focusing on harvesting safety, and bringing operators up to speed with technology.
Over 2 days, 4 hour training sessions were held for approximately 30 OneFortyOne staff and harvesting contractors. Safety around a Waratah harvester was the first topic of each session. These machines are a complex array of mechanical and hydraulic parts and training for operator safety was of paramount importance to Waratah, OneFortyOne and the contractors involved.
Training then moved on to the technology, and Waratah provided a unique training experience with the use of a harvesting simulator in the classroom. To the untrained eye, the simulator looked like a giant gaming station complete with big screen and joy stick. However, it was a state of the art harvesting cabin simulator. Modern harvesting machines are fitted with high-tech computerised systems that automatically select the length and diameter of logs when cutting a tree. This training gave operators the opportunity to test the technology with Waratah staff there to guide them.
Waratah last ran training in the Green Triangle two years ago, but this was the first time the Region had this type of training done in partnership with a forest owner. OneFortyOne’s General Manager, Willie Van Niekerk also had a turn in the training simulator and came away with a deeper appreciation of the skill needed to use the technology in the field. He commented he hoped to see further training opportunities like this for the local timber industry and its operators.
Feedback from the staff in attendance was very positive. Everyone learnt something new about the technology and reinforced their commitment to safety.

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