AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland-Ems offering chainsaw training
Since 2006, AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland-Ems GmbH has been offering training courses in chainsaw use. Demand is very high – especially since it became a legal requirement to have a licence to use a chainsaw outside the boundaries of one’s own property. A training course can reduce the risk of an accident by up to 90 percent.
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Through the forest comes the resounding call: “Tim-ber!!” Twenty-two men armed with chainsaws are busy learning how to use them safely. They are peering intently at the trunk of a tree which is already leaning at an angle, and monitoring the direction it is likely to fall in. There is tension in the air. The men all group together, then there is a sudden cracking sound. Relief all round as the tree falls exactly as intended.
Strong demand for chainsaw licences
A training course can reduce the risk of an accident by up to 90 percent. The course leader, Dieter Loose, begins with an introduction into chainsaw theory, and every participant has to examine the equipment in detail in the workshop. This includes checking the chain tension, air filter, summer and winter settings and the correct way to start up the saw. All the participants watch with great interest as they are shown how to sharpen the saw chain by hand. Only then are they allowed to get to work in the woods near Gescher.
Spatial thinking and no fear
“We’re looking at the basic principle of tree felling here,” Dieter Loose emphasises. He is an inspector at the Technische Überwachungsgemeinschaft (technical inspection group) and has been giving training for 15 years. “I notice straight away if someone is afraid of the saw or can’t think in spatial terms. They’ll fail the practical test and won’t get their licence,” he explains. The aim of the course is to teach the participants safe working practices and correct procedure in the forest, as well as good cutting technique.
Holding a ruler up to their noses to estimate the length of the tree from ground to crown, the participants can then figure out how far the tree will fall. Once the working area, the landing space for the tree and the escape routes are clear, the participants saw a “sink cut” in the trunk. The sink cut determines the direction in which the tree will fall. Marking the hinge and felling cut ensures the tree falls in the direction specified to land in the space intended. The wood left between the sink and felling cuts holds the tree and controls its fall is known as the hinge.
Peace of mind – and fun
“I signed up for this course to get some peace of mind. I cut up my own wood in the forest and I don’t want to get into trouble with the owner,” says Andreas Wissing, a participant on the course. Plus, it’s fun! “Some people spend €30 a month to go to the gym. I just head off into the woods,” he says with a laugh, and picks up his chainsaw licence at the end of the day along with all the other course participants.
Stepping up customer retention
The AGRAVIS Technik site in Ahaus-Wessum expects high rates of customer retention as a result of offering the course. “Three-quarters of the participants come back,” says sales advisor Stefan Weßling. Apart from their chainsaws, customers also need the protective clothing they have to wear when sawing. This is all available from the shop at the AGRAVIS Technik site. At the moment, oil is cheap and business in wood and accessories is not so good, but in the long run it will be worth investing in this renewable resource or pellets again.