What does it take to be a Faller?
It is a physically demanding job for the most part, and requires workers who can manage a high level of physical activity and strength. Most need at least a high school diploma, or at least the ability to read at a grade 9 level. Most of the training occurs on the job. Training in forest environment and operation of logging machinery is part of the basics. Other training areas include best management practices, reforestation, and environmental compliance. There are some technical and vocational schools that offer a forestry diploma which may help a worker get hired. In Canada manual tree fallers must take a course and be certified.
There are specific training programs, depending on the country. A key aspect of training is safety instruction. The tree faller is the most important and the most risky job on the forestry crew, so particular attention is given to training in felling techniques. Sessions may be conducted in the field to practice. Many logging companies and forestry trade associations provide their own specialized training programs. Safety training is extremely important and most new forestry workers must have a minimum level of first aid and hazardous materials certification. In addition, knowledge of wildlife safety is required, along with training in things like hydraulics or heavy equipment operation, global position systems, chain saw certification, and forestry rules and regulations.
In addition to wanting to work in a forest environment, personal skills required to be a faller include:
quick and intelligent decision-making ability, particularly when faced with a potential hazard
physical strength and stamina
good judgment of distance
good attention to detail, able to assess whether equipment is operating correctly
good listening skills
able to stay alert while performing repetitive tasks
attention to safety regulations
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