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Doctoral thesis2019Open access

Safety interventions in Swedish small-scale forestry

Edlund, Björn


In private non-industrial forestry, self-employed work has long been associated with high risks for injuries. This thesis is based on four studies that focused on two of the major high-risk activities in this sector in Sweden: two on felling, de-limbing and bucking trees with a chainsaw; and two on off-road use of quad bikes.

The main intervention targeting the risk of chainsaw injuries is promotion of safe work practice, thus chainsaw training is seen an important tool. However, the provided training must effectively transfer knowledge and skill to the trainees, and more knowledge of the effectiveness of this transfer is required.

Thus, half of this thesis is devoted to the Swedish chainsaw license and training. The results show that chainsaw training increases relevant knowledge and skill, and seems to result in changes in chainsaw users’ behaviour. Although knowledge retention was found to be relatively poor just a year after obtaining a licence (which generally involves training as a theoretical and practical examinations must be passed), no clear further effect of time in the period between one and nine years after receiving one was detected. The results also revealed no clear effect of time on skill retention.

The use of quad bikes is associated with high risks for rollover injuries. A suggested intervention targeting this risk is to use an operator protective device (OPD) intended to create a safe space for the operator during a rollover incident, thus preventing the quad bike from crushing the operator. Although such devices have been available for a long time, none have been widely accepted, and many questions regarding optimal kinds of OPDs, their effects and implementation have not been adequately addressed. The other half of this thesis is thus devoted to the development and implementation of quad bike OPDs. The results showed, inter alia, that many quad bike users' understanding of quad bike safety is characterized by a belief that not all users are at risk and that risks are not equally distributed. Thus, several participating users decided to acquire an OPD not necessarily to increase their own safety but rather to increase the safety of others.


ATV; Chainsaw; Injury prevention; Non-industrial forest owners; OPD; Training; Quad bike

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2019, number: 2019:82
ISBN: 978-91-7760-482-2, eISBN: 978-91-7760-483-9
Publisher: Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences