Timber-Safe

Timber-Safe Project | M. Fullen, PI

Reduction of WV Logging Hazards through the Implementation of a Logging Operations Safety and Health Management System.
 

The Problem

Logging is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States with loggers experiencing a fatality rate that is consistently more than twenty times higher than the national average for all workers (BLS.gov, 2015).

In 2014, logging fatalities increased 31%. The West Virginia Fatal Injury Rate for Loggers in 2016 was 337.08 while the national rate was 204.47. West Virginia loggers had 2.86 times the risk of an injury-related fatality compared to loggers in other states.

Empirical evidence has shown that West Virginia logging companies that use manual felling as opposed to feller-bunchers had a higher rate of worker compensation claims over the same period.

Our research team found that in 2014, 93% of loggers and operators surveyed used manual felling with 75% using this technique exclusively. Training programs, statewide certifications, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) special emphasis programs and rigorous federal regulations have had no significant impact on the reduction of serious injuries and deaths to loggers.

Goals and Objectives

We are implementing a logging safety management program that will enhance current safety and health management systems in logging and improve the data collection and monitoring capabilities of logging companies, which will help increase the safety of their operations and reduce injuries.

The goal of this project is to reduce West Virginia logging injuries and fatalities through the successful implementation and assessment of an industry specific safety and health management program.