Tree faller

What they do

Logging workers plan and undertake the practical tasks involved in felling trees in plantations and forests. They create harvesting plans for the felling pattern of a plantation, determining the natural and intended fall of each tree. Prior to tree felling they clear the surrounding area of saplings and debris and mark out the timber for felling. They prepare trees for felling by removing major branches and tree tops, and trimming branches. They saw into the trunks of trees, and ensure that the trees fall safely and with minimum damage. They also assist in loading felled trees onto vehicles for transportation. Logging workers work mostly in the state's South West, where the vast majority of plantations and forests are located. 

Working conditions

Logging workers work for government departments, forest owners or private contractors in softwood and hardwood plantations and re-growth forests. These are usually located in rural areas or isolated bush locations, so significant travel may be involved. Their work site may be hazardous and noisy. They spend the vast majority of their time outdoors, working in most weather conditions. They usually work in small work teams, and are required to undertake a wide variety of manual activities. They usually work regular hours during the day. Logging workers are usually required to wear safety equipment, and must maintain strict safety guidelines at all times.

Tools and technologies

Logging workers use a range of hand tools, such as axes, sickles and billhooks, as well as operating and maintaining power tools like chainsaws and powersaws. They often drive tractors, forwarders, harvesters and lorries. They are usually required to wear protective clothing such as heavy boots, reinforced trousers, gloves, masks and goggles, and harnesses.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a tree faller without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

You can also undertake a traineeship in harvesting and haulage (level 2 or level 3) or forest growing and management (level 2 or level 3).The traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete. The forest growing and management (level 2) traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a tree faller in Western Australia you may need to obtain relevant licenses from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, depending on the type and location of the trees being felled.