1. machete training “Handling the machete” and safety instructions.
2. work instruction to mark out terrain to be chopped
3. grind machete
To 1 Machete training “Handling the machete”.
– A machete is a working tool that requires careful and concentrated work. Carelessness and / or fatigue can lead to serious injury to oneself and / or others.
– The operators of Yuyo S.R.L. insist that the work or the handling of these tools is only carried out when either
o A training was carried out by the operators with the volunteers, in which it is about the special risks when working with the machete or
o The volunteers can credibly demonstrate experience with the use of machetes (e.g., job references stating so), and
– Choice of machete in relation to body size.
o The smaller the individual that will be using the machete, the smaller the choice of machete should be, otherwise more adverse leverage and force effects on the body may result.
– Choice of machete in relation to work (e.g., wood or grass).
o The harder and thicker the material we want to cut, the wider the blade should be. So when cutting grass, for example, a narrow blade is more suitable. If both variants are used, i.e. grass and thicker branches, a compromise solution of a medium-width blade is suitable. See also the topic Grinding the machete.
– Stockings, footwear
o We recommend good quality stockings that go at least below the knees, if possible, and well-fitting, high rubber boots with good tread over them. For people who want to work without a belaying pole, these are the final buffer between an unintentionally swung machete blow and the skin above the shin bone. They are also good protection against possible poisonous snake attacks, ants, etc.
– Other work clothes
o We recommend wearing long pants pulled into rubber boots. It is hot, but working with long sleeves is recommended because mosquitoes, wasps and other insects, or thorny plants or corrosive plant juices cannot get to our skin unhindered. Since it would be unacceptable for most people to wear protective goggles, special care should be taken when chopping fleshy plant stems to prevent flying drops from getting into the eyes. A headgear with neck protection is ideal, since also here attack surface for already mentioned dangers is minimized. On the terrain, especially when chopping, it will be the order of the day to encounter wasps, snakes, ants and so on. You have already read and acknowledged the notes on wildlife hazards. It is not exaggerated, we are here in the tropics and bites or stings can also be fatal in extreme cases, especially for allergy sufferers, but not only.
In this context, we also point out that we have no vehicles to take you to a hospital in case of injury. In case of a power outage, which happens frequently here, we do not even have the possibility to call an ambulance, but would have to improvise. So be careful with the machete and avoid injuries. Sweat band or bandana around the wrist so that not too much sweat can get between your hand and the machete handle.
– Holding and carrying the machete
o It is good to carry the machete in a sheath to the work site. If you are chopping or running with the machete without it in the sheath and you trip, make sure you hold the machete in such a way that if you fall, it will not cut your fingers, the heel of your hand, or any other part of your body.
– Frequency of sharpening the machete
o We suggest sharpening the machete when the cutting action starts to diminish. The area to be cut per day is currently approximately 400 square feet. Under normal use, a good grind beforehand should be sufficient for the expected daily output. However, this can vary downward, especially if the terrain is rocky or metal is encountered, or if multiple thicker branches need to be cut. So if you notice that the machete weakens, or if you always like to have it super sharp, you will not get around an intermediate sharpening. See the point Machete sharpening sharpen.
– Dealing with snakes, ants, wasps and other animals
o Please follow the instructions as described in the sheet Safety Instructions for Staying and Working at Yuyo S.R.L. under points 1 and 2. When chopping, sooner or later there will be encounters in any case. Wasps’ nests are common. Retreat quickly if you are attacked by wasps. Don’t just wipe them away, but if possible, strike them dead with your hand when they sit on you to sting, that is, when attacked. If it starts buzzing around you, a quick retreat is advisable. If ants crawl up your rubber boots, stomping violently is helpful, as they can’t hold onto the rubber very well. These tips do not claim to be exhaustive and will be developed as needed. Help us continue to improve these tips.
– Breaks and being tired and clean
o If you are exhausted, do not use the machete. If you do not feel fit to start a chop shift, cancel chopping for the day. If you become fatigued while chopping, take a break and only start again if the break has resulted in you becoming fit again. Being clean is an absolute requirement for working with a machete. This includes any residual alcohol or drugs from the previous day’s party. Do not go. Who violates this will have to expect sanctions in any case. So just let us know, we can postpone the chopping or someone else will do it.
– Fluid intake
o Chopping in the tropics is exhausting and leads to heavy sweating. Refill often enough, we recommend the water from the dispenser in the volunteer kitchen.
– Blood Circle
o Chopping is a lonely business, because it is imperative that no one gets too close to you. We expect at least 3 meters. If you are chopping an area where other people are working, you must coordinate. We do not want multiple people chopping a section at the same time. If people’s machetes fly out of their sweaty hands due to fatigue, for example, and hit someone else, it can end dramatically.
– Leg position
o When chopping, we stand as follows: So when we wield the machete with the right hand the right leg is also in front and the left leg behind. This probably takes some getting used to for most beginners, but it is indispensable, because this way the leg is as far as possible out of reach if the machete swings through unintentionally (which can happen again and again). For left-handers it is of course the left leg.
– Use of stick
o Another technique to prevent injury to the lower legs from swinging the machete through is to use a stick. This can also be helpful to check bushes for animals – such as snakes – before cutting them down. It is better not to reach in there with your hand. The stick is held with the non-machete hand and rammed into the ground slightly in front of the foot of the side that does not carry the machete. We recommend to train the leg position as described above in spite of the stick protection.
– Position of the free hand
o However, if you do not want to use a poke, make sure that the free hand is held behind the body so that self-injury can be ruled out. For us, it has proven workable to place it with the back of the hand against the back in the lumbar region.
– Standing in the field
o Be sure to stand securely, especially on terrain with slopes.
– Chopping uphill
o It is easier on your back and energy to chop uphill. Rather walk down a few meters and start from the bottom.
– Forward movement – Chopping
o Chopping, which uses only forward motion for cutting, is recommended, especially for beginners and for higher plant growth. We hold the machete handle firmly enclosed with our chopping hand, the thumb secures the handle from above resting against the blade. Leg position as described above. We lower the upper body and cut the plants about 5 – 10 cm above the ground, guiding the machete evenly and as parallel as possible to the ground.
to the ground. For larger plants, we first cut away the tops and work our way down one tier at a time if necessary. For thicker branches, we recommend a 45° angle, as the plant fibers can be cut much better that way. For very thick branches, we cut into the wood at a 45° angle, sometimes from above, sometimes from below, so that wedge-shaped cutouts are created until the branch or trunk has been cut through. If necessary, resharpen.
– Pendulum chop
o Especially with higher grass and when we are more advanced and have more experience, we can also use the backward movement for cutting. In doing so, we are then also more erect and therefore can no longer cut parallel to the ground. To achieve this, we have to turn our hand quickly after finishing the forward phase at the apex. Chopping like this is even more physically demanding, be sure to stop when fatigued and to drink enough fluids.
– Handling the machete on plants that are to remain.
o Even before chopping begins, walk the area to be chopped and examine for plants that should remain. If anything is unclear, be sure to ask Jule or Stefan; valuable planting work can quickly be destroyed with a careless chop. It is desirable that these are protected by markings. Trees are to remain anyway, it would be nice if here little by little signs with names could be attached to small posts to establish a nature trail. Also the beds should be marked and protected little by little. When we approach these plants while chopping, our chopping technique changes. We no longer chop toward the plant, but away from the trunk. Since we naturally cannot build up any momentum directly at the trunk, the surrounding plants remain comparatively unchopped, but that doesn’t matter. If larger, disturbing plants form there, these are removed with secateurs, not with the machete. It is therefore important to always cut away from the plant. If plants such as banana plants are injured, this can lead to parasite infestation and disease of the plant. Also always stay away from border plants, especially the reddish dragon plants. In case of doubt just ask Stefan or Jule.
o It is essential that you have a switched on radio with you and that there is a manned intercom with the radio also switched on so that you can call for help in an emergency.
– End of work
o Upon completion of the work, roughly clean the machete and then take it and scabbard to the upper office
Clean the work tool after work and return it to the place where
it was used.