Type of project


Project status


Implementation period

01.06.2006 - 31.05.2009

Contract number

Source of funding

Financing amount


Coordinator / leading department

European Network of Forest Entrepreneurs, Ruetteberg, Germany

Project supervisor

Project description

Collective work science approach to solving the common problems of occupational health and performance in European forest operations SMEs

COMFOR is an collective research project (CRP) funded under Sixth Framework Programme for European Research and Technological Development, Priority: Horizontal research activities involving SMEs collective research

Project goals

The vision of COMFOR is to develop an innovative knowledge transfer concept for SMEs in forest operations. This will enable the adoption of ergonomically effective work practices and mitigate the problems of poor occupational health and economic performance. COMFOR will create added value through a more competitive and sustainable forestry workforce in Europe.

The objective of COMFOR is to transform science into practice by researching and developing means and measures which will enable encourage SMEs to adopt ergonomically sound working practices. COMFOR will train the national Forestry Contracting Associations in these methods of knowledge transfer, thus mobilising the results of the research to a wide body of forestry contractors in Europe.

Characteristics of the project

The change from direct employees to entrepreneurs/contractors working in forest operations, time and production pressures and poor financial returns are having a major effect on Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) working in forest operations throughout Europe. As a result, the economic pressure on entrepreneurs and occupational health problems in forestry work are increasing. Current ergonomic research provides answers for healthier working practices which also improve performance. Research and development has also demonstrated the link between ergonomically sound working practices and improved health, leading eventually to improved economic performance. However, putting science into practice is difficult for these businesses who face practical and financial barriers to change their way of working and are not in a position to undertake research and development themselves. Despite regional differences in economy and culture, forest operations businesses broadly face the same constraints all over Europe. This pan-European problem of poor occupational health and economic performance with forest operations businesses calls for a collective solution.

There are four major Work Packages in the project:

  1. SMEs research demands.
  2. Research.
  3. Knowledge transfer.
  4. Training activities.

COMFOR takes the Collective Research, pan-European approach. This will use the unique competences of a range of research institutions, Industrial Associations and the participating SMEs themselves. In particular, COMFOR will add value by:

  • undertaking mutual research to focus on the actual relevant topics by the RTD partners each having expertise in their national and European context but also the broader view of the international context;
  • employing a common research methodology which will address the pan-European problems of occupational health associated with mechanisation, but providing tailored solutions to reflect regional differences;
  • maximising the uptake of good ergonomic working practices by a large body of European forest operations SMEs;
  • developing research and knowledge transfer capacities in the field of Work Science;
  • contributing to mutual standards required by the European market for products and services.

Scope of IBL participation

Forest Research Institute (IBL) in involved in four Work Packages, being responsible for co-operation with national IAGs and SMEs in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania:

  1. SMEs Research demands
    Sub packages:

    1. Regional situation
    2. Case studies
    3. Information analysis
  2. Research
    Sub packages:

    1. Ergonomics and economics
    2. Pedagogic techniques
    3. Structural changes
    4. Feedback
  3. Knowledge transfer
    Sub packages:

    1. Customise best practice
    2. Pilot by region
    3. Monitor and evaluate
    4. Dissemination
  4. Training activities
    Sub packages:

    1. Design training input
    2. Deliver training

Project contractors

3 Braci Leśnej Street, Sękocin Stary,
05-090 Raszyn, Poland
tel.: + 48 22 7150 346, fax: + 48 22 7150 313

Dr Krzysztof Jodłowski, Eng.


Role*) No Participant name Short name Country
Industrial Associations (IAGs)



European Network of Forest Entrepreneurs

ENFE Germany, Ruetteberg
CR 2 Qualifizierungsfonds Forstwirtschaft e. V. QfF Germany. Kassel
Enterprises (SMEs)
CR 11 Waldwirtschaft Jacob OHG WJ Germany, Markneukirchen
CR 12 Sundgaubois SGB France, Faverois
C 13 Harper Transport & Harvesting HHT Great Britain, Insch
CR 14 Czeslaw Dyduch CD Poland, Kraków
CR 15 Il Forest IL Romania, Brebu
CR 16 Wand Enterprises WE Ireland, Galtymore
CR 17 Gebr. Zweverink GZ Netherlands, Hoog Soeren
CR 18 Metsäurakointi Piirainen oy MP Finland, Vuokatti
CR 19 Dunbergs Skogsservice AB DS Sweden, Eksjo
CR 20 Gorhin Ltd. GO Bulgaria, Lovech
Research Organisations
CR 3 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU Sweden, Uppsala
CR 4 Warsaw Agricultural University SGGW Poland, Warszawa
CR 5 University of Freiburg UoF Germany, Freiburg
CR 6 Forestry Commission Scotland FC Great Britain, Edinburgh
CR 7 Association Foret Cellulose AFOCEL France, Paris
CR 8 Kuratorium für Waldarbeit und Forsttechnik KWF Germany, Gross-Umstadt
CR 9 Delo – Organisationsberatung DELO Germany, Kassel
CR 10 Hudson Consulting Ltd HCL Great Britain, Blairdaff
CR 21 Instytut Badawczy Leśnictwa IBL Poland, Sękocin Stary


*) K – koordynator; P – partner

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