Safety Education in Charcoal-Making (Updated 2004/10/04)

Thorough Safety Education

Before making charcoal for the first time, it is necessary to have the faculty leader or responsible leader come, and to teach the leader which parts of the preparation and the entire charcoal-making process have high potential of danger.  Many faculty members involved in on-site training at technical high schools or junior high school technical home education departments, or advisors of sports which have high risk of danger can understand about safety measures.   However, since other faculty members have little or no training outdoors, they may lack awareness regarding safety measures.  Many faculty members cannot manage and become paralyzed with fear when a student has an accident.  This type of person may tend to shift responsibility onto others.  It is absolutely necessary to have the faculty leader or responsible person sign a written consent form.

There are many dangers such as use of fire and machinery.  It is necessary to be careful since there may be many tree stumps and bamboo scattered in the area, and there may be sharp metal parts around the charcoal-making kiln.  In particular, there are in fact, many foolish faculty members who do not consider the activity seriously.  This type of faculty member is the first to suffer injuries.  If this type of leader sees the blood from a student who suffered a light injury, the leader tends to take exaggerated actions or faint.  There are some faculty members who do not read the material distributed to the faculty.  For example, it has been said that even though it is written to bring gloves and wear work clothes, most faculty do not bring these.  Looking at the results up until now, it is a fact that, in particular, faculty members from the cities are the worst.  Further, there are many schools that are self-assertive and shift the responsibility onto others.  Before being self-assertive, it is best to conduct thorough safety education and for the studentsf sake, train to keep in mind what kind of actions would be best to take {in case of accidents}.

Further, have them participate in charcoal-making knowing that accidents do occur.  If from the beginning, the overall concept is understood, then accidents are few.  It is important to think that there is no 100% safety in any circumstance.

Abide by the following

1. Get disability insurance for all participants (In Japan, it is less than 200 yen per person).  With a little money, you can buy a lot of reassurance.

2. Thoroughness in safety clothing.  There is danger of abrasions, cuts or piercing injuries from bamboo and wood.  Considering the danger of using fire, have the participants wear clothing that is not easily flammable.  Even in summer, this is a requirement.

3. Wear protective glasses, mask and gloves.  Many fragments of wood fly from using the saw or from splitting wood, so have the participants wear helmets if necessary too.  There is danger of getting cut from the saw.  There are also dangers of water getting inside the kiln, causing an explosion, and charcoal flying out from the kiln, or high temperature gas coming out from the kiln, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

4. Thoroughness in time-keeping.  There have been cases where students go away to play and do not return at the designated time.  Charcoal-making is often done in the mountains.

5.The leader has responsibility for protecting the students or children, and should not shift the responsibility onto the charcoal-making instructor or other outsiders.@For accidents, all responsibility is with the participating group or school, and they need to realize they must take full responsibility.

6. When doing charcoal-making, request a written consent form regarding liability, from the head of the school or group or responsible leader.

7. There have been students and teachers who do not bring pen or pencil and note-taking paper.  All elementary school students have brought pen or pencil and paper.  High school students are worst, and teachers are next.

8. In summer, measures to prevent heat exhaustion are necessary since the heat from making charcoal is surprisingly hot.  Prepare cold water.

9. In some places, there may be cliffs or valleys.  It may be necessary to take precautions against wild animals such as poisonous snakes, wild boar, bears, bees, etc.  Prepare an emergency kit.