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CORE LEVEL    [Back to Logger Training]
The following Core Level courses are required in order to be considered a SFI Qualified Logging Professional through the Pennsylvania SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program. Core training includes a basic set of courses designed to include everyone involved in timber harvesting activities. They may be taken in any order, but must be completed within a 24-month period.

Professional Timber Harvesting Essentials - Covers general safety considerations, chainsaw safety, logging equipment safety (harvesters, loaders, skidders, etc.), trucking safety and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards that apply to timber harvesting and related activities. Also covers pertinent aspects of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams laws and other water resource protection regulations, Best Management Practices (BMPs), hazardous material control, and logging aesthetics. This course is approximately 8 hours in length and is conducted indoors. It replaces the Environmental Logging and Logging Safety classes offered prior to 2012. (Note: This course can be taken for continuing education credit if you have not already completed the training in the last 5 years.)

Game of Logging - Level 1 - Introduces participants to open face felling, bore cutting, and the 5-step felling plan using a hands on approach.  The course covers personal protective equipment, chainsaw safety features and reactive forces, proper chain filing techniques, and understanding important hinge wood properties and strength. This course is approximately 8 hours in length and is conducted outdoors. Class sizes are limited to provide participants one-on-one interaction with the instructor. Participants must provide their own safety equipment. (Note: This course can be taken for continuing education credit if you have not already completed the training in the last 5 years.)


First Aid & CPR - Because timber harvesting is a hazardous occupation, federal law (OSHA Regulations) requires that everyone who works in the woods maintain current First Aid & CPR training from a provider who can issue a certificate or a card as documentation of hands on training (i.e. no online certifications will be accepted). Individuals do not need to complete this training through the PA SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program; however, they must provide proof of First Aid & CPR certification to receive their initial training card (we cannot accept the MSHA 5000-23 form as satisfaction of this requirement). Training certificates can be submitted to the Pennsylvania SIC office via email, mail, or fax. (Note: First Aid & CPR training is NOT accepted for continuing education credit.)

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Four hours of C.E. level training is required each year following the completion of core requirements to keep training current. The following is a summary of various C.E. level courses offered through the PA SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program at various times. These classes can be either 4 or 8 hours long. While certain training is designed for more particular functions, all programs are open to anyone wishing to sharpen their skills and strengthen their knowledge.

Advanced Environmental Logging – (Also called "Erosion Control In Our Forests") Provides a comprehensive summary of Pennsylvania’s environmental regulations that pertain to logging operations and an in in-depth review of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and their implementation, including the proper layout of haul roads, skid trails and landings, considerations for controlling surface runoff, planning and installing stream crossings, the importance of job site appearance (aesthetics), and proper site retirement to avoid future problems. This course is typically administered in partnership with local County Conservation District technicians and conducted with both indoor and outdoor components.

Advanced Logger Rescue – When a serious emergency occurs on a logging operation and help is needed, loggers and Rescue/EMS personnel are often both forced into unfamiliar situations. This course is offered in mixed classes with both loggers and Rescue/EMS personnel to help prepare everyone in taking action to reduce severity of injury and increase the chances for survival after a severe logging accident. The course teaches participants how to handle an “in woods” rescue from the time of the accident (or the time the person did not arrive home) until they are at a level-1 trauma center. This course is primarily conducted outdoors.

Boundary Lines, Maps, & Deeds – This course covers the fundamentals of researching deeds, locating and marking boundary lines on the ground using a map and compass and GPS technology, and how to make maps using conventional paper methods, freeware such as Google Earth, and other mapping software.

Business Management for Timber Harvesters – Profitability of a timber harvesting businesses is key to long term viability and implementing sustainable management practices. Participants are introduced to business plans, documents used for financial analysis, key people, sources of assistance, employee management, and other components of running a successful business.

Buying Standing Timber – Addresses the importance of establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with forest landowners. It emphasizes silviculture, the proper management of the forest resource, and the importance of being ethical in one's business dealings. Also covered is the influence either a positive or a negative reputation can have to an ongoing business venture. This course is recommended for everyone who purchases stumpage and involves both classroom and field exercises.

Forest Health Update - This course will provide timber harvesters with an update on the issues and controls for invasives, forest disease and pests, and deer impacts. There will also be information related to the Spotted Lanternfly as well. Topics are presented by experts from Penn State Extension and the Bureau of Forestry.

Game of Logging – This training consists of five levels (4 and a review level) and a specialized Storm Damage Training. The training covers personal safety, chainsaw maintenance, hazard assessment, developing a plan, handling problem trees such as leaners, identifying and managing overhead hazards, proper face and backcutting, and other recommended felling techniques. All levels must be taken sequentially with at least 2 months in between levels to give participants the opportunity to practice what they have learned. This training is conducted outdoors. Participants are required to use a chainsaw and must provide their own safety equipment. Individuals who complete levels 1 and 2 are eligible to take Storm Damage training.

Garage Safety – With all the tools, equipment, and potentially dangerous liquids and solvents normally found in the typical maintenance garage setting, these places can be areas where accidents are just waiting to happen. This course helps participants to identify what those risks are and how to prevent accidents by properly handling and storing both equipment and materials. From lockout/tagout to Safety Data Sheets (SDS), there are ways to minimize the risks you and your employees are exposed to.

GPS For Timber Harvesters – Participants learn the fundamentals of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its application to forest management and logging operations. This course explains how inexpensive and relatively low-tech options, such as recreational grade GPS unit and a personal computer, can be used to determine tract acreage and boundary dimensions, skid trail/haul road layout, distance and grade, mapping special features, and navigating tracts in unfamiliar areas. This training involves both classroom and field exercises.

Hardwood Log Bucking – This course provides instruction in manufacturing logs to the highest value for the marketplace by knowing your customer's specifications, grades and needs. Also discussed are the characteristics of well-manufactured logs, differences in grade and scale, defects and their effect on value, and common problems encountered when logs are mis-manufactured and possible solutions. This course involves both classroom and outside components.

Hydraulic Systems Safety & Maintenance - This hands-on course will introduce participants to the theory of hydraulic operation, nomenclature and function of associated components, safety practices, general maintenance, and diagnostic troubleshooting of hydraulic systems.


Job Layout and Profitable Skidding – Finding ways to realize the greatest efficiency in a logging operation is paramount to controlling costs. Due to poor planning, or execution, or both, timber harvesting operations can be significantly inefficient. This class is conducted on an actual job site to demonstrate the most efficient and effective ways to layout the timber harvest so time and effort will not be wasted.

Mechanized Equipment Maintenance Safety - Forest operations typically require the muscle of heavy equipment to get the job done. The rugged conditions this equipment operates under makes maintenance essential to sustaining performance. Operators should have a basic understanding of diesel engine and hydraulic system functions and the maintenance necessary to maximize equipment life. This workshop will introduce participants to diesel and hydraulic system operation, nomenclature and the function of associated components, safety practices, general maintenance, and diagnostic troubleshooting of these systems.

Mechanized Harvesting Safety – From forwarders to feller-bunchers to cut-to-length equipment, timber harvesting systems have evolved a great deal from where they were just a few years ago. In some cases, more highly mechanized operations can pose different or even greater chances for accidents and injuries to woods workers. This course provide instruction on how to recognize potential hazards associated with more highly mechanized operations and how they can best be addressed.

Outdoor Survival Skills for Timber Harvesters – This course covers various aspects of dealing with outdoor survival situations. A major emphasis is placed on being prepared for unexpected emergencies and preventing hypothermia. Items to have, compass and map skills, and shelter/fire building techniques are among the many aspects discussed in detail. Participants receive hands on experience in compass/map and fire building exercises.

Proactive Accident Prevention – Accidents rarely just happen. In almost every case there is a set of events that occurred leading up to the accident. Therefore, most accidents can be prevented simply by taking a proactive approach. This course will introduce you to this process of proactive accident prevention. This training is conducted indoors.

Professional Forest Products Trucking – This training is designed for truck drivers and business owners to emphasize the importance of demonstrating safety, courtesy and professionalism in forest product trucking operations. The trucking component of a timber harvest is often one of the most visible elements of the operation. This class emphasizes the importance of recognizing that public impressions of the forest products industry are often formed by their interactions with the trucks hauling our products.

Skidding Safety – Next to chainsaws, skidders are often the most active piece of equipment on a traditional logging job. Skidder accidents, during operating and maintenance, are far too common. Typically these accidents result in serious injuries to the operator or other members of the logging crew. This course examines areas where skidder related accidents most often tend to occur and provides instruction on how such accidents can be prevented.

Sustainable Forest Management/Timber Harvesting – Covers what constitutes sustainable forestry practices. The course reviews the development of Pennsylvania’s current forests, basics of forest ecology and an introduction to forest management. An advanced version of this training demonstrates a methodology for determining if a given harvest prescription could be expected to yield sustainable results when forest conditions are measured and assessed. This training involves both classroom and field exercises.

Pennsylvania Wildlife Management – Studies have shown that most of Pennsylvania’s private forest landowners have a great deal of interest in the wildlife that inhabits their property. A variety of Wildlife courses are offered that provide information on game and non-game species and the management of their habitat. Some versions of this training outline a tool that focuses on the current habitat, the landowner's objectives and the effects of a proposed harvest to determine what kinds of animals and plants are likely to be present post-harvest. This provides an important resource in designing a timber harvest that will meet the landowner's wildlife goals and objectives for their property. Other versions of the wildlife course focus on specific species, their habitat, and their conservation needs, while others are directed at giving participants a better understanding and appreciation for Pennsylvania's diverse forest wildlife.

Valuing Standing Timber – Designed for personnel who make stumpage purchases, this course helps to avoid those errors in volume and value estimates that can spell disaster when the harvest is conducted. The tools and correct methods for measuring and estimating volume (how many board feet or tons of wood) trees contain prior to harvest is thoroughly covered. Instruction is also given for basic sampling techniques. This training involves both classroom and field exercises.

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