Skidder Good Managment Practices

Date: May 4, 2021

Greg Tatum, Risk Control Consultant

Practices to Keep You Safe on the Job

According to OSHA, next to felling, skidding is the most dangerous part of a logging operation. Skidding hazards include moving equipment, moving and rolling logs, cable releases, cable-related cuts and punctures, and rollovers. Good communication and safe work practices must be followed to get the timber to the loading area safely. Follow these good management practices for skidding.

Prior to Operations

Operators should begin by familiarizing themselves with the site before operations. Check timber distribution, size, ground conditions, terrain, and hazards. A walk-around inspection should be completed at least twice daily to check for any potential safety risks or problems before they occur.

When mounting and dismounting the skidder, always maintain the "three-point" contact method by either using two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. This method allows for maximum stability and support, reducing the chances of slipping and falling.

Once inside, buckle up. A seat belt should be worn at all times while operating the skidder.

Operating the Skidder

To avoid the risk of roll-overs, only winch loads in a straight line. When operating on slopes, only skid straight up and down rather than across.

Lodged trees can be extremely dangerous, causing serious injuries, and should be pushed down to the ground. Be aware of surroundings that include windblown trees as they can increase the risk of accidents.

Before exiting the cab, the operator should ground the blade, set the brake, and disengage the transmission. The choker should be set at the butt end of the log.

General Safety 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always be worn and can help protect you from many hazards in a forestry operation. If handling a cable during skidding operations, wear proper gloves that fit and grip well.

Skidders are essential to helping logging operations run smooth, so it is important to keep up with regular maintenance to ensure productivity. Regularly clean the unit to remove any accumulated debris, maintain the fire suppression system, and secure any loose items inside the cab.

Finally, the loader operator is responsible for the safety of all workers on the landing. Maintain a safe operating distance from other workers and operations.

With extensive knowledge in the forestry industry, BITCO insures forest products businesses across the country and helps avoid risks. To learn more, find a BITCO agent near you at

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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