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What is a Breaker Out?

The role of Breaker Out is a critical component of most cable harvesting operations and also some ground based operations. Breaking Out consists of working in combination with a machine operator (cable hauler or skidder) to connect trees to the machine for extraction from the site. 

For cable harvesting operations Breaker Out's always work in a team of at least two members with one member qualified as a Head Breaker Out (HBO).

It is the role of the HBO to ensure the key objectives of the operation are met. There are three fundamental objectives for any Breaker Out:

  • Safe Extraction - ensuring that the extraction cycle is performed in a safe manner for all parties involved

  • Maximise Payload - working with in the Safe Working Load (SWL) of the cables and machines while maximising the load 

  • Minimise Waste - ensuring the tree is extracted without breakage or damage to the log so it can gain maximum value

Other considerations are:

  • Speed - minimising the time taken between extractions without compromising payload and waste

  • Environment - ensuring extraction meets the environmental requirements as defined in the harvesting plan

  • Teamwork - as with any efficient operation teamwork is vital. Ensuring communications channels are always open and team members are encouraged to perform to the best of their abilities is important

  • Breaker Out is an entry level position and all the required skills can be learnt with on the job training provided

  • Skills

    • ​17769 - Demonstrate knowledge of general health, safety, and environmental requirements in forestry

    • 24567 - Plan and carry out breaking out and assist in line shifts for a cable harvesting operation

    • 6916 - Demonstrate knowledge of the rules relating to chainsaw use

    • 23411 - Operate a chainsaw and carry out basic chainsaw maintenance in a commercial forestry situation

    • 6920 - Demonstrate knowledge of cable harvesting operation

Role Requirements

Requirements for Breaker Out positions at DGL:

  • Health & Safety

    • ​Comply with all documented Health & Safety policies, procedures and work instructions and verbal instructions issued by Managers and Supervisors

    • A proven commitment to workplace Health & safety

    • Operate tools, equipment and machinery according to prescribed safety procedures

    • Follow established safety procedures and techniques to perform duties including lifting, climbing etc

    • Correct unsafe conditions in work area and report any conditions that are not correctable to management immediately

    • Correctly use and maintain all personal protective clothing and equipment supplied by DGL

    • Undertake random alcohol and drug testing

    • Work safely and maintain others well-being by being alert and report problems for preventative measure

  • Key Tasks/Duties

    • ​Ensure you have been inducted and signed Hazard ID

    • Participate in Tailgate meetings

    • Sign off on breaking out plan for the day before commencing work

    • Ensure workers on breaking out face are safe

    • Understand audio toots

    • Pull wood safely following ACOP rules

    • Hook up logs for extraction with minima​l damage


To ensure the ongoing safety of the employee and their co-workers DGL performs regular behaviour assessments and provides feedback to the employee. The employee must be willing to learn from results making changes if needed.

How do you apply?

If you are interested in becoming a Breaker Out, or if you are already in the role and looking to make change of company then we encourage you to express an interest in working for DGL. You must be a New Zealand citizen, or carry valid working visa to be eligible.

Positions for entry level applicants are limited, with only a handful of vacancies open every year. If you think that you have what it takes to work for DGL then you can express an interest online. Be sure to include your resume and a cover letter telling us why you think a career in the forestry is the right move for you:


Thanks! We will review your enquiry soon and be in touch.

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