News of regulations, research,
developments and coming events compiled by the Pacific Northwest
Agricultural Safety and Health Center
Newly written guidelines regarding
reserve trees in Oregon and Washington are due out early in 2005.
They are particularly timely given the large number of substantial
fires lately. Both states have safety codes that deal with danger
trees. The new guidelines will not replace the codes but will
provide guidance on mitigation. The definition of and distinctions
between hazard trees haven't changed, but evaluating how to deal
with the danger has. The emphasis is on trying to mitigate the
situation without exposing a cutter to danger.
Rick Toupin, a regional logging
engineer with the U.S. Forest Service, is leading the rewriting
effort, working with people from the Washington Department of
Labor and Industries, Washington Contract Loggers Association,
Oregon OSHA, Associated Oregon Loggers, Oregon Department of
Transportation, Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land
Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Oregon State University.
Current guidelines for choosing
reserve trees focus primarily on logging. The new guide is being
rewritten to include tree planting and other nonlogging activities
and to update the illustrations to include current harvesting
Mike Lubay of Oregon OSHA says
the changes "recognize that there are a lot more activities
that happen in our forests than falling, bucking, and hauling
timber. Maybe only a third or so of people working in the woods
are connected with logging. These guidelines consider that lots
of agencies have liabilities, and several of them have regulations.
They bring the whole situation up-to-date and consistent with
all the regulations, so you don't have to try to decide which
regulation to follow."
For more information on Guidelines
for Selecting Reserve Trees, contact:
Rick Toupin, U.S. Forest Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
Investigator, Pesticide Compliance Program, Washington Department
Sprouts from hardwood cut stumps
can quickly gain dominance over newly planted seedlings and hinder
reforestration. Treating these stumps after felling and before
they sprout eliminates the need of having a separate crew back
into the stand later to apply herbicides. A little extra work
by the logger upfront saves the owner a larger expense down the
road. It just makes good sense.
A common problem in the logging
industry, especially with contractors, however, results from
loggers illegally treating stumps with herbicides. To do so without
breaking the law, loggers must be licensed applicators and follow
herbicide safety requirements.
Timber owners and loggers need
to understand that persons applying herbicides when they are
not properly licensed are in violation of state agricultural
licensing and pesticide application laws, labor and industry
regulations under OSHA, and EPA Worker Protection Standard rules.
Both the landowner and logger can be held liable for all such
violations. These licensing and WPS rules are in place to protect
the owner, the environment, and the worker from danger or problems.
Common herbicides used for stump
treatments can be harmful if not used properly. Tordon (R) (picloram)
and Garlon (R) (triclopyr) are commonly used for controlling
big leaf maple stump sprouts. These chemicals are corrosive,
and the labels require specific protective equipment for the
exposed skin and the eyes. The usual gloves and eyewear worn
by loggers do not adequately protect against these chemicals.
If loggers want to provide the
service of treating stumps, they need to be licensed through
their state authorities for technical assistance and help with
licensing and training. In Washington, contact: Paul Figueroa,
This annual review is one way
the PNASH Center contributes to improving the health and safety
of forest workers in the Northwest. While PNASH publishes this
review, we hope that employers and employees in the timber industry
and health and safety professionals in and out of government
agencies treat this publication as theirs.
We solicit your comments on how
we might improve out effort. If you would like to submit a guest
editorial on a forest safety issue, let us know. To add names
to our distribution list, suggest ideas for future issues, or
list events, please contact Marcy Harrington at 206-685-8962,
1-800-330-0827, or email@example.com
Best wishes for a safe
2005 from the folks at PNASH.
Simulated rescue using climbing saddle
A new style climbing saddle from Sherrill Arborist Supply.
Oregon safety regulations regarding
tree climbing equipment are due to change, or at least be clarified,
in the next year or two. The way the rules are currently written,
the traditional belt and spur method is the only named means
in the text of the rules. Other unnamed methods are allowed if
they are "as effective." Ambiguity fills the vacuum
and will be eliminated by the new guidelines.
Modern climbing techniques and
devices, such as climbing saddles, have proven to be as effective
as belts and spurs and make much better sense ergonomically.
New regulations will draw from USDA Forest Service National Tree
Climbing Guide, recently revised and due to be reissued in early
2005. Rock climbing techniques and equipment developed around
the world that can be adapted to logging are covered.
Region IV Forest Service employees
have led the effort to establish climbing safety standards and
policy, and the Guide is the culmination of those efforts, Jerry
Berdeen, Regional Coordinator for the National Tree Climbing
Program, stresses that "there are lots of people climbing
trees beyond those limbing, topping, or rigging for a logging
operation." He mentions cone picking, scion collection (for
tree propagation), and controlled pollination as three tasks
tree climbers commonly perform. The new guide is written with
these climbers, as well as loggers, in mind.
Oregon OSHA is completing the
revision of the wildland firefighting requirements found in Division
7, Forest Activities, Subdivision N. It expects to conduct public
hearings on the proposed changes in March or April, with implementation
for June 2005.
The current rules make a distinction
between loggers and professional wildland firefighters based
on different training requirements. Those distinctions are gone
in the new regulations, which will identify the jobs, address
appropriate training, set provisions for emergency help, establish
procedures and conditions for dealing with fires, and clarify
The proposed Oregon rules will
set basic minimum standards for all wildland firefighters. Current
interagency contracts require additional training beyond these
Top Five Standards Violated
Oregon OSHA Logging Inspections, 2003
- Personal protective equipment:
- Material stored near pinch point
- Protective equipment maintenance
- First aid training
- Minimum first aid supplies
Source: Research and Analysis
Section, Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services,
The term for translating research
into practice is R2P, and an effort from Oregon is a dramatic
R2P success story. Projects funded by about $450,000 in OR-OSHA's
Worksite Redesign Grants have produced significant results. Researchers
at Oregon State University have developed end connectors and
terminators and tested and promoted synthetic rope as strong
as steel wire rope at the same diameter, but weighing about 90%
less. It is replacing wire rope in many logging and trucking
applications and has demonstrated ergonomic improvements to workloads,
strains and fatigue in research trials. More that 100 firms are
now using synthetic ropes.
The new rope can't be used everywhere
steel rope can. You can't burn it over rocks, for instance. But
the tremendous gain in productivity where it can be used more
than repays the higher initial investment. Rigging is a good
example. One person can rig tail trees and intermediate support
trees in one trip, carrying the rope in a backpack. A logger
doesn't have to make five or six trips up and down a hillside,
hauling heavy cable. This makes a huge difference for the worker
in terms of ergonomics, safety and productivity.
Dr. John Garland and his research
colleagues of the Forest Engineering Department at Oregon State
University and industry cooperators have made their five years
of synthetic rope research available on the OR-OSHA web site, www.orosha.org/grants/osuforest/osuoverview.html
For more information contact:
John Garland, Forest Engineering Department, Oregon State University,
233 Peavy Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, 511-737-3128, firstname.lastname@example.org
Garland is continuing his research or new synthetic ropes and
application for the logging industry.
Fire season 2000 was one of the
most serious in recent memory, with 122,827 fires burning a record
8,422,237 acres across the U.S. At the peak of the fires in the
western states on August 29, 2000 more than 28,400
people were involved in suppressing fires. Two of the largest
of the fires that year the Clear Creek fire in Idaho and
the Valley Complex fire in Montana together burned more
than 570,000 acres.
In an effort to reduce wildland
firefighter injury and illness, PNASH and the Blackbull Wildlife
Services worked with the U.S. Forest Service to study injuries
recorded during those two large fires. The work, completed last
spring, analyzed whether types of individuals, environmental
factors, fatigue, and fitness levels affected the numbers and
types of injuries.
The study recommended that:
- Even though all individuals
working as firefighters must pass the Work Capacity Test at the
"Arduous" level on a yearly basis, additional work
hardening efforts such as those used by the Type I interagency
Hotshot Crews should be encouraged among all firefighers.
- Additional emphasis should be
focused on the Incident Base Camp and the crews and support personnel
- The injuries in the fire camp
reflect a possible need to have a minimal fitness level for all
individuals who go on fires in any capacity.
- Further research should be conducted
in several areas, including examination of other large, long-duration
fires, such as Oregon's Biscuit Fire.
For more information, contact:
Dick Managan, Principal, Blackbull Wildlife Services, Missoula,
Montana, 406-543-0013, email@example.com
Managan is also the 2004-2005 president of the International
Association of Wildland Fire.
New partnerships are being formed
among Alaska's timber industry and its regulators. The Alaska
Department for Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Labor
Standards and Safety, Occupational Safety and Health Consultation
and Training (AKOSH) is seeking partnerships among Alaska Forest
Association (AFA) members, logging and sawmill companies, insurance
companies, and timberland owners. The partners must adhere to
progressive requirements for managing site safety and health.
Safety programs will be established and maintained by approved
employers. AKOSH consultation will verify that partnership requirements
are met and program goals are being attained by providing free
consultations and training sessions.
The project goals are to:
- Reduce injuries and illnesses
in forest products operations in Alaska by developing partnerships
with approved employers.
- Improve employer safety and
- Better use AKOSH resources through
partnerships to reduce the need for enforcement visits while
improving worker safety and health.
- Provide maximum leverage of
resources by promoting more active employer action and responsibility
in safety and health management.
- Promote a cooperative relationship
among AFA members, insurance companies, logging and sawmill operators,
land owners, and AKOSH.
- Enhance employee involvement
in company safety and health.
- Reduce costs and efficiency
losses related to injuries and illnesses.
In 2004, three companies began
safety partnerships: White Spruce Enterprises Sawmill, Granite
Mountain Alaska Lumber, and Tongass Cutting.
AKOSH invites others to join
these industry leaders and to improve workplace safety and health
in Alaska's forest and wood products industry. For more information,
contact Phil McElroy 907-225-7098, or Cliff Hustead 907-269-4957
or toll-free in Alaska 800-656-4972, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year, the U.S. Labor Department's
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) renewed
its partnership with the Potlatch Corporation of Lewiston, Idaho,
to improve worker safety and health in the logging industry.
OSHA health and safety partnerships
are part of the department's ongoing efforts to improve the health
and safety of workers through cooperative initiatives with companies
and trade associations. The partnership renewal recognizes Potlatch
Corporation's continued outstanding oversight of contract loggers
under OSHA's Logging Partnership Project.
Although improvements in logging
safety have been realized in recent years, logging remains among
the nation's most dangerous occupations.
"Logging employers who practice
sound safety and health management principles experience notable
improvements in their safety performance," said Richard
Terrill, OSHA's regional administrator in Seattle. "Potlatch
is among the progressive owners of industrial timberland who
have worked hard to improve logging safety among their contract
In November 2000, Potlatch became
the first company in the Labor Department's Northwest Region
to receive partnership status. OSHA has renewed the partnership
after evaluating the company and finding that it continues to
have a strong commitment to health and safety, including training
and education, record keeping and hazard analysis, and other
initiatives that protect the safety and well-being of its employees.
Since 2001, the Labor Department's
Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created more
than 80 partnerships to prevent accidents and promote job health
and safety. OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries
and illnesses, and protecting the health and safety of American
workers. For more information, visit www.osha.gov
and click on "Cooperative Programs."
The decade between 1993 and 2002
saw 250 forest workers die in British Columbia and 31,783 suffer
injuries. In July 2003, BC's Minister of Skills Development and
Labour, Graham Bruce, established the Forest Safety Task Force
to find practical solutions to this problem. The group released
its report in February 2004, calling for immediate and fundamental
change in BC's forest sector. The report provides a step-by-step
action plan for tackling the unacceptable rates of death and
serious injury in BC's forests.
The task force brought together
senior representatives from large forestry employers, contractors,
fallers, and labor unions. It concluded that there are many reasons
why the industry's high rates of serious injury and death have
been resistant to change including human, economic, and
regulatory factors but the most significant may be the
lack of a safety culture.
The report states that attitudes
and behaviors must change, and the industry as a whole must agree
that all deaths and serious injuries are preventable. "The
people we talked with said that forestry is inherently dangerous
business, that accidents just happen," said Doug Enns, chairman
of the Workers' Compensation Board and task force chair. "While
it's true that working in the woods can pose risks, that doesn't
justify unsafe work practices. All the members of the task force
firmly believe that each and every workplace accident is preventable."
isn't a log out there that's worth anybody getting killed over.
We've got to replace the inevitability of being injured with
the notion that all injuries are preventable. We have to look
differently at everything." -- Keith Rush, Interior logging manager and an adviser to the
Forest Safety Task Force
The task force's 20 recommendations
- Developing a sector wide safety
accord that will guide changes in attitude, procedures, and operation,
resulting in a new safety culture.
- Creating an industry-owned and
operated health and safety infrastructure that would include
prequalification and certification of forest companies, contractors,
and independent operators.
- Developing uniform training
and certification standards for workers.
- Providing financial incentives
for firms that adopt and operate according to a sector wide safety
To make the task force recommendation
a reality, industry has formed an operational group, the BC Forest
Safety Council (BCFSC). It has developed a plan of action with
the larger forest community to gather feedback, work through
the recommendations, and implement changes to make BC's forests
safer places to work.
In November, the BCFSC and the
Workers' Compensation Board announced the implementation of the
Faller Training Standard and Certification Program. It will require
mandatory testing and a skills demonstration by experienced fallers.
(There are about 4,000 fallers working in BC.) All experienced
fallers must be certified by July 31, 2005; the cost of certification
will rise as that date approaches. Beginning in 2005, new fallers
will have to undergo a comprehensive training program in order
to become certified. Those fallers who have their certifications
will also be required to renew them on a regular basis in order
to ensure they can continue to operate safely.
A complete copy of the Forest
Safety Task Force's report is available on the Forest Safety
Task Force Web site, www.forestsafetybc.com
Last year, Doug Scott, a mine
safety specialist with the NIOSH Spokane Research Laboratory,
reported on the work he did for his Master of Public Health degree
(see Injury Prevention, 2004; 10(4): 239-43). Scott analyzed
780 logger fatalities for a nine-year period and found that:
- Tree fallers suffered nearly
63% of all fatalities.
- The region where the fatality
occurred and the size of the employer were not significant factors
affecting tree faller fatalities.
- The Northeast and Midwest regions
showed a higher percentage of fatalities compared with the South
- The logger fatality rate for
1992-2000 decreased slightly from 1980-88.
- Tree fallers continued to be
the group of loggers suffering the highest fatality rate.
The Oregon Department of Consumer
and Business Services reported that eight Oregon loggers died
in 2003 marking the second consecutive year for increased fatalities.
At the same time, Oregon's overall workplace fatality count dropped
from 52 in 2002 to 41 in 2003 (the all-time low of 34 was set
in 2001). The rise in logging deaths is striking because the
logging workforce has declined so dramatically. The number of
workers employed in logging fell from 13,000 in 1988 to 7,600
Workplace safety and industry
analysts suggest that an aging workforce and an influx of inexperienced
and untrained newcomers are factors in fatality rates. Three
of the eight loggers who died had been on the job less than four
months. At the other end, experience can breed overconfidence,
and older workers have a lower survival rate following traumatic
incidents. Four of the fatalities were at least 52 years old.
What is clear is that a shrinking labor market means fewer qualified
workers are available for employers to hire.
At 131.6 deaths per 100,000 workers,
timber cutting has yet again to be proven to be the occupation
with the highest fatality rate in the nation (the 2002 ratio
was 118 per 100,000). According to the Department of Labor's
annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 104 loggers lost
their lives in 2003, the latest year for which complete statistics
are available. This number is exactly the same as in 2002. More
than 70% of the fatalities occurred when the victim was struck
by a tree or branch.
Washington Logging Safety Conference
St. Martin's College, Olympia, WA
Washington Contract Loggers Association
February 28 - March 3
Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety & Health Conference
Theme: Advancing Industry Knowledge and Practices
Oregon Logging Conference
Theme: Today's Tools - Tomorrow's Healthy Forests
Alaska Governor's Safety and Health Conference
Central Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference
Eagle Crest Resort, Redmond, OR
Washington State Governor's Safety and Health Conference
Southern Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference
Smullin Center, Medford, OR
Note: Additional courses are
offered to members of state contract logging associations. Please
contact your association for more information.
National Timber Harvesting
and Transportation Safety Foundation
NEW VIDEO: Coaching the Professional Logger
Logging Safety Research, NIOSH
Logging Safety Recognition,
Control, and Standards, OSHA
Forestry Safety Topic Centre,
British Columbia Workers' Compensation Board (BCWCB) http://forestry.healthandsafetycentre.org/s/Home.asp
Northwest Forest Worker Safety
is produced by
the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH)
at the University of Washington's School of Public Health and
PNASH conducts research, develops
interventions, and provides professional education and outreach
to improve occupational safety and health. We serve workers in
farming, fishing, and forestry in Washington, Oregon, Alaska,
and Idaho. PNASH is funded through CDC/NIOSH (Award # 5U50OH0754-04)
and the state of Washington.
Manager: Marcy Harrington
Editor: Eric Swenson
Print Designer: Illustrator: Stacey Holland
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 38195
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.