Death sparks train­ing push

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

TASTAFE says it will be able to han­dle an in­flux of peo­ple re­quir­ing chain­saw train­ing if a coro­ner has his way.

In re­sponse to the death of a 61-year-old man near Smith­ton in Novem­ber last year, Coro­ner Si­mon Cooper has again rec­om­mended ev­ery­one who buys or uses a chain­saw must un­der­take train­ing.

Mr Cooper also rec­om­mended all chain­saw op­er­a­tors must un­dergo reg­u­lar prac­ti­cal re­assess­ments, ideally ev­ery three years, and that no­body un­der the age of 16 be per­mit­ted to own or use one in any cir­cum­stances.

In Novem­ber last year, Neil Robert Kingston died while felling trees on his prop­erty. He was struck on the head by a branch and died at the scene.

Mr Cooper said Mr Kingston was an ex­pe­ri­enced tree feller but had never un­der- taken train­ing and was not wear­ing pro­tec­tive head­gear.

“I am sat­is­fied that Mr Kingston’s death di­rectly re­sulted from poor tree-felling tech­nique and his fail­ure to wear ap­pro­pri­ate per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment,” the coro­ner said.

He said Mr Kingston would have sur­vived the in­ci­dent had he been wear­ing a hel­met.

Mr Cooper noted there had been 99 deaths re­sult­ing from chain­saw use and tree-felling na­tion­wide be­tween 2000 and 2016, with roughly a quar­ter of those in Tas­ma­nia.

He rec­om­mended all chain­saw op­er­a­tors un­der­take ap­proved train­ing be­fore buy­ing or us­ing a chain­saw and that any­one sell­ing chain­saws be an ac­cred­ited chain­saw operator.

The bulk of train­ing in oper­ate chain­saws in Tas­ma­nia is done by TasTAFE. It pro­vides chain­saw train­ing in a num­ber of qual­i­fi­ca­tions and a short course on its own.

TasTAFE di­vi­sion man­ager for Drysdale, Cre­ative In­dus­tries, Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Sci­ence Ma­ree Gerke said i528 stu­dents took a course in chain­saw op­er­a­tions in 2017, with monthly ba­sic train­ing cour­ses held in Launce­s­ton and Burnie and six cour­ses in Ho­bart.

She said if the coro­ner’s rec­om­men­da­tion of com­pul­sory train­ing was im­ple­mented TasTAFE would be able to han­dle the in­creased de­mand.

“We have sig­nif­i­cant ca­pac­ity to un­der­take this train­ing in a range of work­place set­tings or on cam­puses across the state, and TasTAFE would work to ac­com­mo­date any leg­isla­tive changes if and when en­acted,” she said.

In Au­gust Mr Cooper said six chain­saw-re­lated deaths in Tas­ma­nia be­tween 2013 and 2016 showed why all chain­saw op­er­a­tors should do ap­proved train­ing be­fore buy­ing or us­ing a chain­saw.

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