Goal posts target safety of forest workers

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29 APRIL 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13304

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Goal posts are being erected throughout the woodlands of Wales to ensure lorry drivers don't score "own goals" when hauling timber for our £400 million forestry industry.

The "goals" pinpoint the location of the miles of overhead power lines that criss-cross our forests and alert drivers to the potential danger above them.

Each year, some 29,000 lorryloads of timber leave our forests on the first leg of a journey to be converted into an endless variety of products from firewood to MDF panels and timber for the construction industry.

Cutting down the trees and getting the wood to sawmills and timber processors all over Wales is a hi-tech business that draws on cutting edge computer technology, but the consequences of forgetting the danger that lurks overhead can be devastating.

Now, Forestry Commission Wales is taking steps to make our forests safer by contracting specialist companies to erect the goal posts that remind lorry drivers to ensure they don't have their cranes up as they approach power lines.

Hugh Jones, head of FC Wales's harvesting team, Wales Harvesting and Marketing, said people could be killed when their cranes came into contact with live overhead power lines.

"As manager of the Assembly's woodlands, the safety of those people who work in our woods is paramount," he said. "We put up yellow warning notices and the goal posts are a last reminder to the lorry driver that he is approaching power lines."

The goal posts, which are erected at the network distributor's expense, are made of non-conductable material, such as wood or PVC, with a "crossbar" made of high tension rope and bunting.

In any one year, there are up to 200 goal posts in Wales's forests - set up across forest roads or anywhere where operations are taking place as part of the year-round sustainable management of our woods.

"The purpose of the goal posts is not to stop the lorry - they are there as a visual warning," said Hugh.

"Up until recently, the goal posts were erected in a more inconsistent way. Sometimes we would do it, sometimes contractors would do it and at other times the power companies would do it.

"However, we were not happy with this approach and have decided to take this issue in hand by contracting specialist firms to undertake this important task which will improve safety in what can be a very challenging environment."


Forestry Commission Wales is the government department responsible for forestry policy and looks after the 126,000 hectares (309,000 acres) of public forests owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Wales Harvesting and Marketing (WHaM) is the harvesting and marketing department of Forestry Commission Wales. WHaM aims to bring approximately 790,000 m3 of timber to market each year. This will be put to the market through the sale of standing timber or as felled timber at roadside, worked by Forestry Commission Wales's fleet machines and contractors.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Media enquiries to Forestry Commission Wales Information Officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922.