What Do Fallers Do?
If you have a passion for working outdoors and don’t mind physical labor, you should consider becoming a faller. Fallers work in landscaping and forestry as well as commercial lumbering. They use axes and chainsaws to chop and fell trees. They have a great understanding of trees and also must use cutting methods to minimize damage to the trees and control the direction of the fall. Great care must be taken to ensure the safety of the work team and to reduce the risk of damage to other trees or buildings in the area.There are currently 6,600 people employed as fallers. Unfortunately, these positions are being lost due to clearcutting and lack of resource. With an annual loss of jobs of 43%, that works out to about 100 less jobs each year in this field.
Fallers Skills and Abilities
Working with trees comes with risk of injury and property damage, so you must possess a great deal of knowledge about safety procedures. Fallers use mechanical tools to chop and fell trees. They may work occasionally with customers and should know how to provide service. They need to be aware of management and administrative policies to be in compliance with industry standards. This job requires the ability to work as part of a team.Other abilities include:
- Critical thinking.
- Excellent judgment and decision making.
- Quick reaction time.
- Multi-limb coordination.
- Physical strength and endurance.
- Control manual precision and dexterity.
Fallers Tools and Technology
Fallers work to address rot or disease in trees. They calculate the direction of lean to control the fall with the least amount of damage. Using saws, axes, or bulldozers, they work to cut and run, avoiding injury during the tree fall. They will also clear brush and low-hanging branches and limbs. They may also climb high along a trunk to trim tops of trees. They will also work to maintain and repair their equipment.Additional tasks might be:
- Marking or tagging unsafe trees.
- Using steel cables to drag logs.
- Loading wood onto trucks, trailers, or railroad cars.
- Evaluating quality of trees and wood.
Fallers Tools and Technology
This labor mandates safety at all times. You will use lumbering equipment such as chain flail declimbers, debarking tools, feller bunches and axes, and grapple yarders to prepare trees to come down. Lifting cables and forestry skidders help move the logs for shipping to other locations. Ultrasonic examination equipment and sonic devices assist with determining the quality of the trees before felling can occur. Computer software will be used for accounting and analytical purposes. Inventory may be tracked on databased software. There are specific software programs for the forestry industry that may be necessary as well.
Education and Training for Fallers
Plan on earning a high school diploma to perform work as a faller. Some fallers may also take college coursework specific to forestry and land management, although such classes are not mandatory. Training will be received on-the-job with supervision to ensure safety.
The range of earnings for work as a faller will depend on your level experience and the region where you live. The median salary for this type of work is $34,500. The bottom 10% earns almost $22,000, while the top 10% can make close to $66,000.
Fallers Job by Geography
You can expect to find the majority of these jobs in areas with lumber industry and denser forest. They states with the most fallers include Washington, Oregon, and North Carolina. Positions are expected to be created in Montana, Indiana, and Washington over the next few decades. The states with the highest median wage for fallers are Idaho, Oregon, and California.