- April 14-16, 2017
(8:00 am Fri. - 5:00 pm Sun.)
Bull Run Snag Incident — August, 2009
During the revision of the S-212 Wildland Fire Chain Saws course the subject matter
experts determined that many chain saw use safety related problems, including avoidable
accidents, occurred because of inadequate training, evaluation and certification of
wildland fire chain saw users. Further, it was determined that the lack of an interagency
training and certification program ofthe NWCG agencies did not comply with the
requirements of OSHA regulations for chain saw operations. With the exception of the
Forest Service and the BIA, the federal NWCG member agencies do not have established
guidance or standards for chain saw operators or training requirements beyond the
introductory training in the S-212 course. Three levels of chain saw operator are
identified in the National Mobilization Guide under "Technical Specialist" with falling
qualification for each level based on tree diameter, not on judgment and skill level
required to accomplish task complexity.
The interagency subject matter group tasked with revising the S-212 course has prepared
draft task books that will improve certification standards for chain saw users in wildland
fire. The task books incorporate tasks from task books created and in use in four
geographic area level wildland fire chain saw use certification programs. A change in
mnemonics for the three certification levels is encouraged to ensure adherence to the new
Formalize the position of chain saw operator into three distinct skill and qualification
levels matching that used in the private sector under state and national OSHA programs,
i.e., Apprentice Sawyer, Intermediate Sawyer, Advanced Faller. It is the
recommendation of the subject matter expert group that these draft task books be
incorporated into the PMS 310-1, with appropriate adjustments added by the IOSWT.
Approval of this recommendation will establish standards for certification of Apprentice
Sawyer (SAWA), Intermediate Sawyer (SAWI), and Advanced Faller (FALL).
APPROVED / DENIED
/s/ Bob Leaverton
cc: Training Working Team
Safety and Health Working Team
It is a valid proposition to establish better “National” standards to ensure proper training is given and received, however, at this time there is considerable variation regionally and there is a factor of complexity associated with private contractor certification that needs to be dealt with.