BRETT Deaton works in one of the region’s most dangerous “offices”, suspended amid branches and powerlines with a running chainsaw clasped in his hands.
So it’s little surprise the owner of Riverina business Prolop Tree Removals is deadly serious about safety.
Mr Deaton’s obsession with cutting timber was forged early, when his granddad, a legendary Riverina logger, presented him with a chainsaw for his fourth birthday.
He now runs the Riverina’s largest tree lopping business, employing seven arborists and holding contracts with companies like Essential Energy and Murrumbidgee Irrigation.
Mr Deaton said the risk of serious injury was a constant companion when working with chainsaws, whether as an arborist or in the backyard.
“Kickback is the biggest risk and I’ve seen a lot of leg and arm injuries in my time,” Mr Deaton said.
“The most important thing to me is looking after my workers and ensuring they go home safe every afternoon.
“I was trained at TAFE NSW and because I know and trust the course delivery I make sure all our staff are trained at TAFE NSW.
“Even if you don’t work in the industry but still use a chainsaw, it’s critical you know the fundamentals, like how to hold it and maintaining your chain.”
National Coronial Information Service data shows more than 100 deaths occurred in Australia between 2000 and 2017 as a result of chainsaw use and tree felling.
The courses include Chainsaw Trim, Cross-cut and Rip (two-day course), and Chainsaw Operations: Basic Felling – basic, intermediate and advanced (two day courses) and can be delivered on demand at a range of TAFE NSW locations across the Riverina.
Young TAFE can run the course, they only need eight people to enrol.
TAFE NSW Forest Industry Training Centre Leader Jannelle Beard said a short course in chainsaw operations or tree felling was a sound investment in safety.
Enrol in a Semester 2 short course at TAFE NSW by calling 131 601 or visiting www.tafensw.edu.au/courses