EFESC mentioned as good example in EU-OSHA study

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (EU-OSHA), the European Union information agency for occupational safety and health, has recently conducted a study on the future of agriculture and forestry with a focus on persisting and emerging  occupational and health risks. Following the study, OSHA has also published a policy brief in march 2021 on this very timely topic. There it highlights that chainsaw work still constitutes “the most significant risk in forestry”. EFESC and its European Chainsaw Certificate, however, are mentioned as a good example for addressing this persistent risk though better and standardised qualification.

> Read the full study here
> Read the policy brief

Online Q&A session

The EFESC Executive Committee will hold an online Q&A session for organizations or institutions in Europe interested in learning more about the European Chainsaw Certificate (ECC) and/or in joining EFESC.

The event will take place on 26 May 2021, 09:00-10:30h. The meeting language is English.

If you would like to participate, please send an email to: jessica.schmidt@kwf-online.de until 19 May 2021.

The General Assembly 2020 went digital

EFESC did not get bogged down by lockdowns and travel restrictions in the face of the COVID 10-pandemic. Instead the organisation took this as an opportunity to be creative and try out new forms of communication.

After a test round of video conferences with every National Agency in spring, the Executive Committee decided to hold this year’s General Assembly online. It took place on 16 June 2020. This format required new ways of preparation and interaction. In order to pass a vote on the budget and trademark regulations as well as on new and amended documents drafted by the Standard Committee all participants had the opportunity to send the comments in advance. Interventions during the meeting were made by using the chat function and moderated by a chat moderator.

In addition to the official part, each National Agency gave a short presentation on the question which aspects they considered most important for EFESC and for their own organisation in the coming year. Digital training methods as well as the onboarding of new assessment centres were among the issues and tasks presented. To round up the meeting, the ERASMUS+ funded project EDUTrainers was presented. As the programme focuses on soft and communicative skills of trainers working in forestry using e-learning methods this sparked a great interest in participants.

Although it was a new and unusual format for everyone, the online assembly was very productive and efficient. Therefore, thanks to the willingness al all participants to adapt to this new way of meeting, the impossibility to hold the General Assembly as usual, in the end, turned into a very successful event.

EFESC General Assembly 2019

The 2019 General Assembly took place in Gross-Umstadt, Germany. It was hosted by the Kuratorium fuer Waldarbeit und Forsttechnik e.V. (KWF e.V.) which is also the seat of the German National Agency and, most recently, the official EFESC secretariat.

Once again more than 30 delegates from ten different countries all over Europe attended the two-day-meeting.

It became clear that the European Chainsaw Certificates (ECC) based on the European Chainsaw Standards (ECS) are growing in importance throughout Europe. In 2018 EFESC has welcomed Romania as a new National Agency and several new ordinary and extraordinary members have joined.

This year the General Assembly was therefore held under the banner of EFESC’s transition from project to full-fledged organization. EFESC has now established an official secretariat based at KWF e.V, Germany. As part of its transition, EFESC is also developing and implementing an ever more rigorous quality insurance system.

As EFESC is advancing so are training and assessment methods. Several members have presented vocational training projects that integrate digital and virtual reality tools into forestry training.

EFESC General assembly 2017

The EFESC General assembly took place in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The hosting organization was IPC Groene Ruimte, the largest education centre in the Netherlands for the whole green sector.

More than 30 delegates from 11 European countries show that EFESC is finding more and more acceptance all over Europe.

As new extraordinary member the German Agricultural Assurance Association (SVFLG) with more than 1 Million Members and the participation of delegates from Greece underline again the growing importance of professional standards all over Europe.

Main topic was the further training of assessors with more than 20 participants where practical tests were demonstrated and discussed.

Furthermore a specialist from the world´s leading Swiss auditing company SGS trained the EFESC auditors about new methods in auditing.

ECC in German FSC-Standards

The European Chainsaw Certificate is now part of the revised FSC-standards in Germany (version 3.0, valid from mid 2017). In a nutshell: as from 01/07/2020, all professional chainsaw users working in FSC-certified forests, must have an ECC3-certificate or an equivalent national certificate. Exceptions are allowed for non-commercially working private persons or forest owners working in their own forest. They must have verifiable training in chainsaw use.

EFESC Standards Committee meeting

On 18th and 19th of May, the EFESC Standards Committee held a meeting at the IPC Groene Ruimte in Arnhem in the Netherlands. The main items on the agenda were:

  • update of ECS4 and ECS4(S) and associated score sheets
  • proposals for a theory test database and online applications
  • verification procedures for assessors
  • development of additional standards
  • numerical scoring system
  • validity of certificates

IPC Groene Ruimte’s simulator for wood under tension was used to test different setups to include in the ECS for training and examining crosscutting techniques using simulators.

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Updated versions of ECS4 and simulations will become available on this website as soon as the review process has been completed.

Updated versions of ECS available

The EFESC Standards Committee has recently revised European Chainsaw Standards 1, 2 and 3. The updated versions of the standards are now available on our download page. You will also find a version with highlighted changes to compare previous versions of the standards. ECS 4 will be revised during the coming months. Untill further notice, version 2012 will remain valid.

Successful ECC Assessor workshop

The Assessor Workshop last week was a great success, thanks to the contribution of 16 participants including 6 members of the Standards Committee. A ‘heavy’ agenda was completed each day under the determined direction of meeting chairman Roland Tromp, with positive results. Recommendations from the Standards Committee meeting in June were discussed, accepted in principle and ‘field tested’ in the forest with participants all taking the role of ‘assessor’ for ECC1 and 2.

Miquel Casas also very ably felled a larger tree that gave an insight into part of ECC 3. Score-sheets were used as the template to revise contents of the Standards, to remove anomalies. Also the score-sheets were developed to be more ‘user-friendly’, including a reduction of ‘critical points’ to ensure they were more realistic.

In addition, the EFESC Handbook was reviewed to remove errors and the Appendices containing Assessor Code of Practice was examined in detail and rationalised to be a fully working document.

The drafts from the workshop will be distributed to workshop participants and Standards committee to check that all are in agreement, then the papers will be submitted to the Secretariat by October 24th for inclusion in the agenda in Vienna, for ratification as appropriate by the General Assembly.

Thanks go to Tom Embo for agreeing to hold the workshop at Inverde, to Kris Hofkens and Filip Debleeckere for organising the excellent venue and felling site, all participants for their diligence, and Roland Tromp for pushing us all so hard!

Chris Hughes, chairman of the EFESC standards committee

ECC assessor workshop

EFESC is holding a Training Workshop for ECC Assessors in Brussels, Belgium

Venue:

inverde, Duboislaan 1b, 1560 Hoeilaart, Belgium (www.inverde.be/locatie)

Target groups:

assessors, trainers, ECC Standard Committee and representatives of National Agencies

Aim:

That participants will have a clear understanding of the ECC competence standards and how to assess the ECC ‘knowledge and skills’ sections using a range of assessment methods and support materials

Objectives of this training workshop:

  • to inform the participants about the existing ECC standards and the criteria for successfully passing a test
  • to inform about EFESC Assessor Codes of Practice and guidance
  • to organize a discussion and an exchange of opinions on testing practices in the member countries
  • to harmonize the testing procedures and the testing of candidates on a European level

Key points:

  • to clarify the present ECC standards: criteria, learning objectives, support materials and level of importance (‘all moving in the same direction’)
  • how to assess ‘knowledge’ sections with candidates: oral, written, computer-based or other assessment methodology format.
  • how to assess ‘practical skills’ with candidates. What are the experiences of ECC assessors?
  • what kind of assessment methodology format is used?
  • to analyse the existing ECC support materials used e.g. score sheets

Programme:

  • day 1 (Wednesday afternoon, October 1st): introduction to the ECC standards & assessment criteria
  • day 2 (Thursday all day, October 2nd): practical assessments in the forest, delegates dinner evening
  • day 3 (Friday morning, October 3rd): conclusions and recommendations

A detailed agenda can be found on www.inverde.be/ecc-assessor-workshop Please register by using the registration form on www.inverde.be/ecc-assessor-workshop If you register before July 20th, the registration fee is 100 euro. In case of registration after July 20th, the registration fee is 150 euro. For more information, contact Kris Hofkens: kris.hofkens@lne.vlaanderen.be