News.bytes Extra, issue 230
Chainsaws, fires, meth labs and more
Employee Safety Week at Eagle Lake Field Office
Recognizing that people are the most precious resource managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the agency’s Eagle Lake Field Office set aside most of a week for safety training sessions on topics ranging from defensive driving to chainsaw use.
Below, Josh Huffman, a member of the noxious weed crew, practices effective use of a fire extinguisher in Safety Week training conducted by the Susanville Fire Department:
Dubbed “safety week,” the period of intensive training ran from May 2 through 4. It was the second annual event.
“In past years we offered safety training in all of the topics included in Safety Week, but the sessions were at various times of year, making scheduling difficult for employees,” said Field Manager Dayne Barron. “By concentrating these safety sessions in one time period and announcing the dates early, we are able to provide courses for everyone with minimal scheduling conflicts.”
Instructors included members of the field office staff, BLM staffers from other offices, staff members from other agencies and specialists from private companies.
“Many of the tasks we perform daily have elements of risk,” says Russ Elam, safety officer for the field office. “These include everything from driving to work to operating chainsaws and other potentially dangerous equipment. Safety week provides the opportunity for everybody to step back from their daily duties and focus on how they can safely do their jobs.’
Below, field office employee Josh Gibbs practices his chainsaw technique under the watchful eye of Fuels Program lead Ed Merrill, a former hotshot firefighter and certified chainsaw instructor:
Courses offered during the week included defensive driving, meth lab and meth dump awareness, two-way radio operation, CPR, emergency first aid, blood borne pathogen awareness, fire extinguisher use, all-terrain vehicle use, hazardous materials awareness, computer ergonomics, employee right-to-know and chainsaw operation.
Below: Merrill and Forester Don Dockery work on correct tree falling techniques.
Barron noted that a side benefit to Safety Week has been social interaction.
“The event provides one of the few occasions when staff members from different disciplines and duty stations are together for a single purpose. It’s a great time for people to reconnect with one another.”
BLM California News.bytes, issue 230