Remote Forestry Operations Project

Menu: Click across the green arrows to view active and completed project stages. Consultation takes place at every stage of the project.

Case for change

Forest harvesting and haulage contractors work in remote areas, requiring a unique set of safety skills. Foresters require a safety mindset that accounts for the impact of an isolated working environment, including the implications for mental health and the fact that some areas may not be easily accessed by rescue teams. This project proposes the development of a skill set and up to two new units of competency for operators, relating to shaping and sustaining safety culture and practices whilst working in remote high-risk operations.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2020 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

The Forest Management and Harvesting Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact and ForestWorks will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see page 67)

Project Plan

Work in forestry often involves working in small teams, in remote locations that are not easily accessible to others. The work requires physical skills and operation of heavy machinery, in conditions that can be unpredictable. Forest workers must possess specialised skills to maintain safe work practices in these conditions, including the skills to promote individual physical and mental health, as well as that of the team. This project will develop national skills standards to support safety culture and practices among people who work in remote forest operations.

Skills to contribute to a safety culture include the ability to monitor safety compliance and the wellbeing of others. In higher level roles it can also include actively shaping and promoting a safety mindset. The unique nature of working in remote locations means foresters need the ability to maintain concentration over long periods of time. They also need the skills to respond to emergency situations if they occur. Workers operating equipment such as harvesting machines may be required to work alone in a cabin for extended periods of time, with little interaction with others. Industry feedback has indicated that there is a need for all members of small forestry teams to be trained in mental health awareness and first aid, to promote the wellbeing of themselves and their peers. Consultation will take place throughout this project to develop skills standards for understanding and practicing safety in remote operations.

Project Scope

One skill set and two new units will be developed to address the need for specialised safety skills for remote operations.

 

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Relevant Occupations

People in forestry jobs use unique skill sets to plant, prune and protect trees from weeds and pests to ensure the health and growth of forests. Forest infrastructure and harvesting jobs require people who are skilled in operating mechanised equipment to construct and maintain roads, bridges and tracks in forests or to harvest trees and prepare them for transportation out of the forest.

Forestry occupations related to the project include:

  • Forestry Worker
  • Silviculture Operator
  • Tree Feller
  • Harvesting Machine Operator
  • On-site Wood Chipping Operator
  • Cable Logging Operator
  • Other Forestry Plant Operator

Timeline

Oct 2020
Initial scoping

Nov 2020 – Apr 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

May – Jun 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

Jun – Jul 2021
Validation of final drafts

Jul – Sep 2021
Finalisation of Training Package components

Sep – Oct 2021
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

Oct – Nov 2021
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
Georgiana DaianProject Manager, ForestWorksgdaian@forestworks.com.au
Michelle ClaytonIRC and Industry Engagement Manager, ForestWorksmclayton@forestworks.com.au
Rob StowellIndustry Skills Standard Contractor

 

Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter Experts will be drawn on throughout this project to help review and draft the revised units, skill sets and qualifications.

If you are interested in applying to be a subject matter expert and are able to volunteer your time to this project, please email details of your expertise to gdaian@forestworks.com.au

 

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with a Steering Committee, Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in May – June 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in July 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units. It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill sets and units need to reflect real work experience. So if you work in the sector, Skills Impact would love your input and help. Please feel free to register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Georgiana Daian on 0413 660 987 or gdaian@forestworks.com.au.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations during the development of this project to seek their involvement and their views on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units.

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Of course, all and any interested industry participants are encouraged to engage in the consultation of this project, when the draft qualifications, skill sets and units are available for feedback via this webpage and workshops that take place around Australia. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list. This list simply helps us to identify those organisations that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project.

 

Development

Forestry work requires specialist skills to maintain safe work practices, especially when working in small teams in remote locations, with conditions that can be unpredictable. Workers need the ability to monitor safety compliance and the physical and mental wellbeing of others. At a higher level, this can also mean actively shaping and promoting a safety mindset. The ability to maintain concentration over long periods of time and skills to respond to emergency situations are also critical in these conditions, as are skills in mental health awareness and first aid. Physical skills and operation of heavy machinery are also a necessity.

Industry feedback to date has suggested the need for a unit to be developed, to support further training in applying a safety mindset while working alone or in teams in remote area forestry operations.

The first subject matter expert meeting was held in December 2020 to inform the new unit’s content development. Advice received at this meeting included:

  • Training programs in safety culture are particularly useful for leading small work teams in forestry operations.
  • Maintaining a safety culture is a skill required in all forestry operations, not just for work being undertaken in remote forestry operations.
  • The unit FWPCOR3201 Implement safety, health and environment policies and procedures or FWPCOR2205 Follow WHS policies and procedures should be a prerequisite for the proposed new unit on safety mindsets.
  • There is no need for a unit on safety mindsets at the operator level. The relevant skills related to safety mindsets could be included in the existing unit FWPCOR2205 Follow WHS policies and procedures.

Based on this feedback, the development of a unit is proposed to go ahead, describing the skills and knowledge required to apply a safety mindset while working in teams or when working alone, in isolation or out of line of site in forestry operations. This includes the awareness and skills required to work safely in these situations and influence small peer-group teams’ safety culture.

An additional subject matter expert meeting is planned for February 2021 to review the draft unit.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in May 2021, when draft qualifications, units, and skill sets will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome. Please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

Drafts Available

Forest workers often operate in small teams and remote locations not easily accessible to others. Individuals working in these conditions require strong safety mindsets to promote their own and their team’s physical and mental health. Leadership is critical in this space, with leaders of small teams in remote locations requiring skills and awareness to influence the safety culture of small peer-group teams. Consultation is taking part throughout this project to develop national skills standards to support safety culture and practices among people who work in remote forest operations.

Thank you to those who provided feedback on two units of competency that were made available for feedback from 18 May to 17 June 2021.

During this time, feedback was collected through the online feedback hub, phone, email and an online consultation session. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below.

The units describe the skills and knowledge required to apply situational awareness and a safety mindset while performing operational forestry-related tasks in team situations or when working alone, in isolation or out of line of sight. One unit applies to operational forestry roles and the other unit is designed for those leading small work teams in remote forestry operations. Feedback was sought on whether the drafts reflect the current skills standards and practices of industry.

Feedback will inform the work on the final drafts which will be available for industry validation later in June. A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

Units of Competency
Unit code and nameApplicationLink
FWPCOT3XXX Apply situational awareness and a safety mindset in operational forestry rolesThis unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required for applying situational awareness and a safety mindset while performing operational forestry-related tasks in team situations or when working alone, in isolation or out of line of sight.View draft unit
FWPCOT4XXX Apply a safety mindset in forestry operationsThis unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to apply a safety mindset while working in teams or when working alone, in isolation or out of line of site in forestry operations. This includes the awareness and skills required to work safely in these situations and to influence the safety culture of small peer-group teams.View draft unit

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here. 

Summary of Consultation to Date

The draft units have been drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts, who people participated in various meetings focusing on the industry skills needs during the development stage between November 2020 and May 2021. Thank you to those who provided feedback during this time.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

Validation

Forestry work taking place in remote locations and as part of a small team requires individuals to have a strong safety mindset, to support the physical and mental health of the entire team. Leadership is critical in this space, to actively promote and shape a culture around safety. As part of this project, two units have been developed to support safety culture and practices among people who work in remote forest operations.

Thank you to those who provided feedback on the final draft units of competency that were made available for validation and comment from 22 June to 14 July 2021. You can still view the documents and any comments made below.

The units describe the skills and knowledge required to apply situational awareness and a safety mindset while working in team situations or alone, in isolation or out of line of sight. One unit applies to operational forestry roles and the other unit is designed for those leading small work teams in remote forestry operations.

The final drafts will shortly progress through to the Finalisation stage of the project which includes quality assurance of the documents and review and feedback from the State/Territory Training Authorities. They will then be forwarded to the Forest Management and Harvesting Industry Reference Committee (IRC) for consideration and sign off, before being submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) and Ministers to consider and approve for publication on training.gov.au.

Summary of feedback and key changes

The following changes were made in response to stakeholder feedback that was received as part of the ‘Drafts Available’ stage, from 18 May to 17 June 2021:

  • Simplified and specific descriptors were used to clarify learning outcomes for safety leadership and safety mindsets appropriate for operators.
  • Performance criteria was added for confirming location and procedures for accessing a first aid kit on site.
  • Drugs, alcohol and sleep deprivation were added to the workplace health and safety risk factors and compliance with workplace procedure to reduce these risks, alongside fatigue, stress and remoteness.
  • Knowledge Evidence was reviewed to align knowledge requirements with Performance Criteria, updating knowledge requirements so that they are suitable for operator level personnel and to  provide clearer specification of the knowledge requirement for ‘safety mindset’ and ’situational awareness’ at the operator level.
  • Foundation Skills were revised to reflect more basic (routine) reading, numeracy and writing skills rather than a more complex level.

The unit FWPCOT4XXX Apply a safety mindset in forestry operations was also updated to provide clearer specification of the knowledge requirement for safety mindset, situational awareness and safety leadership at the supervisor level.

During this time, feedback was collected through the online feedback hub, phone, email and an online consultation session.

The draft units have been drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts, who people participated in various meetings focusing on the industry skills needs during the development stage between November 2020 and May 2021.

A description of how feedback has been considered and applied in these final drafts can be downloaded below. Please click the ‘Download Summary of Feedback, Responses and Actions’ button.

Units of Competency
Unit code and nameLink
FWPCOT3XXX Apply situational awareness and a safety mindset in operational forestry rolesView draft unit
FWPCOT4XXX Apply a safety mindset in forestry operationsView draft unit

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here. 

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

Finalisation

Performing forestry work in remote conditions requires skills to promote individual safety as well as the safety of the team. The ability to maintain concentration over long periods of time and operate heavy machinery in conditions that can be unpredictable is crucial. Skills are also required to respond to emergency situations if they occur. All members of small forestry teams require expertise in mental health awareness and first aid, to promote the wellbeing of themselves and their peers. Leadership skills are essential to reinforce safe practices and promote and shape a safety culture in the workforce.

As a result of the contributions made to this project, the forest industry will soon have access to national skills standards that will help foster a safety culture and practices among workers in remote forest operations. The units describe the skills and knowledge required to apply situational awareness and a safety mindset while working in team situations or alone, in isolation or out of line of sight. One unit applies to operational forestry roles and the other unit is designed for those leading small work teams in remote forestry operations.

Summary of feedback and key changes

A subject matter expert working group made up of industry representatives was formed to provide input on the development of the units. The draft documents were then made available on this website for broad industry feedback in two stages, the ‘Drafts Available’ stage from 18 May to 17 June 2021 and the ‘Validation’ stage from 22 June to 14 July 2021. During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, online consultation sessions, and via phone call and email. Participants throughout the process included employers and staff members, industry groups, professional associations, union and RTO managers responsible for delivering existing qualifications.

This project developed new units of competency to support safety culture and practices among people who work in remote forest operations as follows:

• Developed unit Apply situational awareness and a safety mindset in operational forestry roles to describe the skills and knowledge required for applying situational awareness and a safety mindset while performing operational forestry-related tasks in team situations or when working alone, in isolation or out of line of sight. This unit has been added to the redeveloped Certificate III in Forest Operations, which was reviewed as part of the Entry Level Forestry Skills Project.

• Developed unit Apply a safety mindset in forestry operations to capture the skills required for those leading small work teams to influence safety culture. This unit has been added to the Certificate IV in Forest Operations, which was reviewed as part of the High-Level Forestry Skills Project.

A description of how feedback has been considered and applied after the ‘Drafts Available’ stage can be downloaded below. A summary of feedback and responses from the ‘Validation’ stage will be made available soon.

The final draft units of competency have been submitted to Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) for consideration and endorsement, after which they will be forwarded to State and Territory Ministers. They have undergone an edit and equity and independent quality assurance process, to ensure they are of high quality and comply with the Standards for Training Packages 2012, the Training Package Products Policy and the Training Package Development and Endorsement Process Policy. They have also been considered by the State/Territory Training Authorities (STAs/TTAs). A Case for Endorsement was submitted alongside the draft units, including a rationale of why these changes are needed and evidence of industry support.

The submitted draft documents are available to download below.

Download the Case for Endorsement

Companion Volume Implementation Guide

A Companion Volume Implementation Guide is also being produced to assist industry and registered training providers (RTOs) deliver the units. It will contain key information to help trainers adapt to any new changes, as well as additional information about the impacts of regulation and licensing implications and workplace health and safety on their training.

Download draft Companion Volume Implementation Guide

Units of Competency

The submitted documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

FWPCOT3321 Apply situational awareness and a safety mindset in operational forestry roles
FWPCOT4217 Apply a safety mindset in forestry operations

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.