The Human Factors of Implementing Shift Work in Logging Operations

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Gallagher, Tom V.;
  • Mitchell, Dana L.;
  • Thomas, Robert E.


A fairly recent development in the forest industry is the use of shift work in logging in the southeastern U.S. Logging company owners are implementing shift work as an opportunity to increase production and potentially reduce the cost of producing each unit of wood, without consideration of the potential impacts on the logging crew. There are many documented physiological and psychological impacts on workers from shift work in a variety of industries, although few address forestry workers in the U.S. Semi-structured interviews were performed to gather information about how logging company owners were implementing shift work in seven southeastern states. Data collected during the interviews included employee turnover, shift hours, shift scheduling, safety considerations, and production impacts. Various work schedules were employed. The majority of the schedules encompassed less than 24 hours per day. Permanent and rotating shift schedules were found. None of the logging company owners used more than two crews in a 24-hour period. Additional safety precautions were implemented as a result of working after dark. No in-woods worker accidents or injuries were reported by any of those interviewed. Results indicate that a variety of work schedules can be successfully implemented in the southeastern logging industry.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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