Unit of competency details

FWPFGM3212 - Fall trees manually (intermediate) (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to FPIFGM3212 - Fall trees manually (intermediate) 12/May/2016
Is superseded by and equivalent to FWPFGM3216 - Fell trees manually (intermediate)Reworded and added new Performance Criteria Added a new Element Updated Foundation Skills, Performance Evidence, Knowledge Evidence and Assessment Conditions 03/Dec/2020

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 13/May/2016

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050501 Forestry Studies  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050501 Forestry Studies  14/Oct/2016 
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Unit Of competency

Modification History




Replaces equivalent unit FPIFGM3212 Fall trees manually (intermediate), which was first released with FPI11 Forest and Forest Products Training Package Version 2.2.

This is the first release of this unit in the new standards format.


This unit of competency describes the outcomes required to assess, plan and safely carry out manual tree-felling operations using a chainsaw.

This unit covers the felling procedures for trees with a level of complexity that requires significant tree assessment and practical felling skills.

Persons competent in this unit should be able to effectively fell most trees except very large trees, and/or those with significant defects and/or characteristics that cause excessive complexity.

It applies to trees that have a diameter greater than the bar length of the chainsaw.

Trees typical to the scope of this unit may include the following characteristics:

  • lean and weight distribution, which can be assessed and readily adapted to falling direction with the use of wedges and/or control with hinge-wood
  • various dimensions relative to local forest size distribution
  • limited visible damage or defect
  • species prone to free splitting and adverse reactions during felling
  • single or multi-stems
  • diameter of tree greater than chainsaw bar length
  • grown on terrain and slope that can add complexity to the operation

The unit applies to a non-production environment, including forest, rural and community environments.

Licensing, legislative, regulatory, or certification requirements apply to this unit in some states & territories at the time of publication, and may differ according to jurisdiction

Pre-requisite Unit


Unit Sector

Forest Growing and Management

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the range of conditions.

1. Prepare for felling

1.1 Identify and comply with applicable work health and safety (WHS), environmental, legislative and organisational requirements relevant to felling trees

1.2 Identify and adhere to site environmental protection measures according to relevant legislation and regulations

1.3 Review and check job requirements with appropriate personnel

1.4 Sharpen and adjust chainsaw or change components according to manufacturer recommendations

1.5 Assess tree and determine felling requirements

1.6 Identify and control potential and existing risks and hazards in the work area

1.7 Identify trees to be retained and felled

1.8 Establish and maintain communication with others according to WHS requirements

2. Visually assess site conditions and surroundings

2.1 Review terrain and slope to determine if they add complexity to the operation

2.2 Assess general factors affecting felling requirements and detect and control specific forest or site risks and hazards

3. Assess tree and plan felling

3.1 Visually assess tree for felling characteristics

3.2 Confirm tree is safe to fell

3.3 Select tools and equipment appropriate to work requirements and check for operational effectiveness according to manufacturer recommendations

3.4 Identify trees to be felled for size, significant defects and any characteristics causing excessive complexity

3.5 Assess and progressively plan tree-felling sequence for individual trees

3.6 Assess and check required falling direction and possible deviation

3.7 Plan sequence of cuts to fell tree according to standard felling procedures

3.8 Assess limitations of own skills in safely felling trees, identify trees considered outside own skill level and seek assistance from appropriate personnel where required

3.9 Monitor and exclude location and activity of other personnel on the work site

4. Apply tree-felling techniques

4.1 Select suitable escape route and clear of growth and other obstacles according to environmental care principles and statutory requirements

4.2 Fell individual trees using planned techniques according to site requirements, at a safe distance from other personnel in the work area

4.3 Adjust cutting technique in response to movement and condition of tree

4.4 Use planned escape route when tree starts to fall and monitor the fall and movement of tree on ground until determined stable

4.5 Delay movement back into the felling area until all tree material, including from adjacent tree crowns, has fallen

4.6 Identify and implement procedures for removal of trees that are hung-up

4.7 Dispose of waste materials in line with environmental and operational requirements

4.8 Detect, rectify and report blunt or damaged saw chain according to workplace procedures

4.9 Monitor chainsaw for operational effectiveness and record and report faults, malfunctions and problems according to workplace procedures

Foundation Skills

This section describes those core and employment skills that are essential to performance and are not explicit in the performance criteria.

Numeracy skills to:

  • measure and record tree height, length and diameter
  • estimate, measure and compare height, size and distance relevant to tree felling
  • calculate product mass of individual trees and determine fall zone

Oral communication skills to:

  • select and use appropriate spoken communication strategies with work colleagues and other personnel on site when felling trees
  • interpret hand signals with other operators to ensure safe tree felling

Reading skills to:

  • interpret:
  • workplace health and safety, industry standards and regulations for felling trees and other relevant tree felling procedures
  • work orders
  • manufacturers’ maintenance recommendations.

Writing skills to:

  • complete forms to record WHS considerations for felling trees
  • report equipment faults and request maintenance of equipment.
  • complete log book requirements

Planning and organising skills to:

  • identify an unsafe tree.
  • efficiently and logically sequence the stages of preparation for and felling of trees using work order to guide activities.

Problem solving skills to:

  • plan and apply the hierarchy of risk control
  • review and identify work requirements
  • recognise own limitations in conditions and trees for felling
  • identify problems and equipment faults and demonstrate appropriate response procedures

Range of Conditions

Not Applicable

Unit Mapping Information

FPIFGM3212 Fall trees manually (intermediate)


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=0d96fe23-5747-4c01-9d6f-3509ff8d3d47


Assessment requirements

Modification History




Replaces equivalent unit FPIFGM3212 Fall trees manually (intermediate), which was first released with FPI11 Forest and Forest Products Training Package Version 2.2. This is the first release of this unit in the new standards format.

Assessment requirements now specify the performance and knowledge evidence, as well as assessment conditions for this unit of competency. These sections simplify and replace components used in the previous unit format, including Required Skills and Knowledge, Evidence Guide and Range Statement.

Performance Evidence

A person demonstrating competency in this unit must satisfy all of the elements, performance criteria and foundation skills of this unit.  If a specific volume or frequency is not stated below, then evidence must be provided that the following requirements have been performed on at least one occasion:

  • comply with applicable federal, state or territory legislative and regulatory requirements and codes of practice including WHS, environmental and organisational policies and procedures relevant to felling trees at an intermediate level
  • comply with organisational policies and procedures relevant to felling trees manually at an intermediate level
  • comply with applicable licensing and certification requirements relevant to felling trees at an intermediate level
  • effectively communicate and use safe working practices, including maintaining an awareness of other personnel activity in the work area
  • assess site conditions, by applying environmental protection measures, detecting hazards and own skill level for felling trees at an intermediate level
  • conduct a tree assessment
  • identify structural defects and stresses in trees and the impact on felling, including exclusion of trees from hand felling due to hazardous and difficult situations for assessment, monitoring and safe falling including a crown that contains dead or broken material, entanglement or malformation
  • plan a felling sequence for individual trees and preparing surroundings including escape route
  • fell intermediate trees using appropriate cuts safely without damage to personnel, equipment and surrounding environment
  • identify trees that are hung up
  • select, prepare and maintain chainsaw equipment including recognising faults, problems and malfunctions
  • assess, plan and safely operate chainsaw equipment to manually fell trees at an intermediate level in forest, rural and community environments
  • use tree felling techniques including scarf cutting , back cutting to provide hinge-wood and the use of wedges to assist in controlling falling direction

Knowledge Evidence

A person competent in this unit must be able to demonstrate knowledge of:

  • Workplace health and safety (WHS) requirements including:
  • PPE and clothing
  • safety equipment
  • first aid equipment
  • firefighting equipment
  • hazard and risk control procedures
  • fatigue management procedures
  • appropriate signage
  • elimination of hazardous materials and substances procedures
  • safe forest practices, including required actions relating to fire
  • techniques for manual handling, including shifting, lifting and carrying
  • types and purposes of cuts to fell trees, including scarf cutting and back cutting to provide hinge-wood and maintain control of tree
  • typical tree defects and how these affect tree felling activities:
  • shakes
  • insect defects
  • knots and resin pockets
  • pipe
  • drysides
  • Identifying trees:
  • that contain hazards and are deemed unsafe to fell
  • considered outside own skill level
  • trees where cuts made may lead to loss of control of tree in felling
  • hazards and related risks and the impact on felling trees of:
  • uneven and unstable terrain
  • unsafe trees
  • fires
  • overhead and underground services
  • excavations
  • traffic
  • structures
  • hazardous materials
  • insects and animals
  • other personnel and machinery
  • methods used to remove trees that are hung up and procedures for removal
  • methods for assessing chain condition
  • environmental protection measures to follow when felling trees related to:
  • native vegetation
  • soil and water
  • heritage and archeological artefacts
  • flora and fauna
  • geomorphologic features
  • landscape
  • external site pollution
  • recreational opportunities
  • regeneration opportunities
  • cleaning plant, tools and equipment
  • disposing of, recycling and reusing timber and other waste
  • key features of these varying environmental conditions and their effects on intermediate tree felling activities:
  • general forest lean
  • ground growth
  • ground hazards and obstacles
  • ground slope
  • gullies
  • presence and density of seed and habitat trees
  • water courses
  • wet and adverse weather conditions
  • wind speed and direction
  • the use of types of tools and equipment for felling trees manually, and the procedures for their safe use, operation and maintenance including:
  • warning signs
  • chainsaw and components
  • PPE and clothing
  • first aid equipment
  • maintenance requirements
  • support tools

Assessment Conditions

The following resources must be made available:

  • workplace location or simulated workplace of a forest environment with trees typical to the scope of this unit
  • relevant personnel for the purposes of communicating information
  • PPE and clothing including:
  • Safety helmet
  • Safety gloves
  • Protective footwear
  • Eye protection
  • Hearing protection
  • High visibility clothing
  • Leg protection (trousers or chaps)
  • materials and equipment including;
  • warning signs
  • chainsaw and components
  • first aid equipment
  • maintenance tools and equipment
  • support tools
  • manufacturers’ instructions for use and maintenance of equipment
  • radio or communication device
  • fire fighting equipment (if prescribed)
  • specifications and work instructions, including
  • information and instructions relevant to tree-felling operations, including processing location details and trees to be felled and retained
  • policy and procedures for work health and safety (WHS)
  • risk assessment plan
  • general and specific environmental requirements
  • applicable state or territory logging code of practice
  • emergency and evacuation procedures
  • fire protocols

Competency is to be assessed in the workplace or a simulated environment that accurately reflects performance in a real workplace setting.

Assessor requirements 

Assessors must:

  • hold the appropriate assessor competency standards as outlined in regulations; and
  • be able to demonstrate vocational competencies at least to the level being assessed; and
  • be able to demonstrate how they are continuing to develop their VET knowledge and skills as well as maintaining their industry currency and assessor competence.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=0d96fe23-5747-4c01-9d6f-3509ff8d3d47