During the winter logging season in the Lake States Region, logging equipment was vandalized by protesters of a nearby project. The vandalism resulted in damage to logging equipment and caused significant downtime for the logging business owner. The day prior to the incident, an equipment operator for the logging business was confronted by protesters. The logging business has been in operation for nearly 25 years.
Vandalism and Protests
Often logging equipment is left in the field unsupervised and on occasion is subject to vandalism or theft. Measures can be taken to minimize the risk of vandalism and theft of logging operations, tools, and equipment. Vandalism may also be associated with a protest. It is important that employees know how to respond when confronted by protesters. Your response to a protest should strive towards de-escalating the confrontation.
Minimize Vandalism and Theft
Equipment, trailers, and buildings should have high-quality locks with case hardened chains that cannot be cut with normal chain cutters.
Equip logging equipment with anti-theft devices such as hydraulic cylinder locks.
Install secondary fuel switch to avoid hot-wiring of equipment.
Do not park equipment close together so a fire cannot spread between them.
Remove keys from the ignition of all equipment.
Etch tools with your name or business.
Contact authorities of suspicious activity.
How to Respond to a Protest
Train employees on how to respond to a protest.
If you suspect a protest on your site, let authorities know.
Do not engage in verbal confrontations, and do not physically engage the protesters.
If you are personally confronted, remain calm and try not to raise your voice or escalate the situation.
If you chose to record video or take photographs of the protesters, do not put yourself in harm’s way.
If you cannot ignore the protesters, listen, be respectful, and give protesters a chance to air their view.
Avoid a conversation with a protester, especially if media is present.
If protests become violent, immediately contact authorities.
Have a prepared statement, in the event the media contacts you after the protest.
Source: Forest Resources Association