Operational Leadership and Safety

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Tailgate safety briefings, tool safety talks, proper PPE, and Job Hazard Analyses are all important tools that we use as trail workers to manage our risk when doing maintenance tasks. However, even with all of these tools available, injuries may still occur as the result of human error.

Operational Leadership is a subject that addresses this issue by focusing on the human/behavioral factors in safety; factors like situational awareness, stress and performance, and effective leadership.

“Trail Safe!” is an online Operational Leadership Training program developed by the National Park Service specifically for trail volunteers. While it was initially developed in partnership with the Ice Age Trail Alliance, it is perfectly applicable to any trail workers with any agency, including volunteers in the Pisgah Ranger District.

This program is a series of eight video segments, ranging in length from 18 to 40 minutes. The entire series totals about 3 hours. Thanks to the self-paced online video format, it is easily accessible to individuals or groups. This program includes an abundance of valuable information and insights and is an excellent way to refresh and improve your leadership and risk management knowledge. Highly recommended for anyone working on trails in our District.

To access the Trail Safe! training series, use the link below:



 Additional Safety Links and Resources


National Wildfire Coordinating Group, Fuel Geysering Awareness Campaign

USFS Hard Hat Tech Tips: Inspection and Maintenance

Bullard - Use of Adhesive Stickers on Hard hats

USFS/BLM - Hard Hat Serviceability Inspections

Backcountry Lightning Risk Management

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): Hazards to Outdoor Workers
(Great central location for safety information on tick and mosquito-borne diseases,venomous snakes, spiders, insects, poisonous plants, environmental hazards)

OSHA: Safety Tips and Resources for Working Outdoors in Warm Climates