Spotting the wood for the sustainable trees

Health and safety issues also highlighted at trip to Idless Woods

Sustainability and health and safety were key issues at a recent student visit to Idless Woods and Truro Sawmills.

Forester John Esbary and Forestry Commission Rangers Liz Bunney and Helen Brown, spoke to Truro and Penwith College Carpentry Apprentices, highlighting the importance of forest management to ensure sustainability of timber stocks.

They guided the group to areas of the forest in different stages of growth and clearings where diseased trees had been removed. The students also learned about why different species are planted, forest infrastructure and typical rotation cycles.

Truro Sawmills owner, Alistair Wright, demonstrated how timber is converted from a raw material to familiar components and products, such as tanalised garden furniture, pallets and fence posts.

Carpentry Lecturer and trip leader Frank Axon was delighted with the outcome and said the students “now have first-hand knowledge of the products they will use in their career and a critical understanding of sustainability”.

“Moreover, as a result of our successful liaison, the Forestry Commission intends to extend its educational programmes to carpenters and joiners across the UK,” he continued.

Health and Safety Officer for Truro and Penwith College, Simon Grant, also highlighted the importance of managing risks, a factor that is tackled in the student’s health and safety modules.

“During the visit process, students learned about the importance of identifying workplace hazards and managing risk,” he explained.

“This involved looking at risk assessments, personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as looking at methods of controlling noise and wood dust in construction. Students have Health and Safety modules to complete within their courses and the visit to a working saw mill was a fantastic way of engaging them and emphasising the need to be aware of occupational health and safety in the workplace.”

For more information on carpentry courses at Truro and Penwith College please visit