In-depth about forestry
Revised provisions about chainsaws and brush cutters
On December 1, 2012 the provisions on the use of chainsaws and brush cutters (AFS 2012:1) began to apply.
The provisions entail a number of changes:
1. Documented proficiency
Anyone who works with a chainsaw must have the skills to do it safely. Therefore, a requirement that the person using a chainsaw in their work must have passed theoretical and practical tests was introduced. There should be documentation to confirm this.
2. Sanction fees
The requirement for documentation of completed practical and theoretical tests started to apply on 1 January 2015. Anyone allowing someone to use a chainsaw without having documentation must pay a fine of 10,000 SEK.
3. High visibility clothing
- Anyone who works with a chainsaw or a clearing saw must have high visibility clothing on the upper body. These can be approved according to the Swedish standard for high visibility clothing for professional use. The standard EN ISO 20471: 2013 can be ordered from www.sis.se.
- When working with a chainsaw or brush cutter one must wear protective boots or safety boots with saw protection.
4. Work in twos within the tree’s reach
The requirement that only those who are manually lumbering must be within the reach of the tree, can be impractical during, for example, training. We have therefore introduced an exception in the provisions for training and difficult work situations that require there to be more than one person at the tree. The exception means that it is permissible for other persons to stay within the reach of the tree in these situations, provided that a risk assessment has been completed.
One must always have access to technical aids for bringing trees down, and to take down established trees. Because of the risk of chipping, putting the tree under strain with winches or other mobile machines before the felling cut is complete is not allowed.
Working under raised crane arms or other parts of mobile machinery is not allowed.
In some cases, the Work Environment Act does not apply, and neither does the requirement for practical and theoretical tests or training addressed in §§ 17 and 18 (in the Work Environment Authority provisions on the use of chainsaws and brush cutters, AFS 2012: 1). This is true for associations that fulfil all three criteria:
- They are not operated for profit or for other financial reasons.
- They use only the labour force of their own members, who can, at any time, leave their duties
- They perform work that only aims to meet the non-profit business interests and needs.
There are exceptions, and this applies, for example, if the association uses personnel who are not members. In such a case, the staff can be considered employees, even if salary is not paid out but is replaced by another form of compensation.
The Swedish Work Environment Authority does not determine in advance whether an association is a non-profit organization or not. If the question should arise a court decides the question of who bears the ultimate responsibility in a particular situation.
6. Self-employed and sole holders
Family holdings and employers carrying out work for their own account are excluded from
- the paragraphs about investigation and risk assessment, measures and follow-up
- certain points about solitary work, instructions and communication between employees (§ 10, Appendix B)
- requirements for chainsaw rooms
- requirements for knowledge and education.
The requirement for knowledge applies, however, to anyone using chainsaws or brush cutters in a common workplace or during building and civil engineering work.
7. Working on platforms
The requirement for chainsaws to be anchored to the platform has been removed.
Brochures in other languages
SLA – The Federation of Swedish Forestry and Agricultural Employers
SLA provides advice at farm level in the health and work environment areas. SLA work environment developers work throughout the country. On the SLA website you can find contact information as well as an overview of who / which ones work in your area.
GS – The Swedish union of forestry, wood and graphical workers
The safety representative is a key figure in the GS work environment management, and regional safety representatives are all over Sweden. On the GS website you can find the contact persons for your geographical area.
On the Prevent website there are industry-specific checklists in forestry. These can be downloaded free of charge in PDF format.
Säker Skog [Safe Forests]
At sakerskog.se there is, among other things, information for those who wish to know more about chainsaw operator licences. There is also
- information on LRF's storm emergency centre
- basic rules that apply when reprocessing storm-felled forest
- advice for working safely.
The Swedish Forest Agency
On the Swedish Forest Agency website there are current courses that the authority organises, up to date information, maps of the spread of forests, and much more.
Joint authority website on market surveillance
The Swedish Work Environment Authority is one of the authorities that, together with Swedac, has developed the website marknadskontroll.se. There you can read about:
- the EU Directive and which authorities are responsible for different products
- CE labelling and other mandatory labelling of products, such as energy labelling.
Last updated 2017-04-28