While most workers in the U.S. do not generally consider their lives to be at risk from day to day, loggers and others who have statistically dangerous and hazardous jobs are less lucky, experts say.
According to recent studies, approximately 140 loggers die on the job every year. In 1971, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act was amended to include some logging regulations but not to include chainsaw requirements. The high cost of insurance in the early 1990’s has encouraged the development of safety programs.
A report from Bangor, Maine’s WLBZ television news station, highlights some of the serious hazards loggers face every day, but also points out that there are changes working their way through the industry which could help mitigate some of the more serious risks, including training and certification programs.
“That’s been a great help for the people training the loggers and showing them how to be safe in the woods,” said Rudy Pelletier, who runs a logging company. “It’s something now that’s actually a necessity. Every time we hire a new man, the first thing we do is make sure they have they’re [a certified logging professional].”
The forest industry has developed a pro-active role to educate loggers and reduce accidents. Many states offer safety programs, though there are some that follow government regulations more stringently than others.
In Washington State, the Loggers Safety Task Force was created to assure standard training for workers, performance, and supervision. Employers that become involved in the program can receive discounts when it comes to workers’ compensation premiums.
Despite new safety programs, logging remains one of the most dangerous occupations in America, according to government data. Loggers should bear the risks in mind and consider investing in a life insurance policy to provide for their families if they meet with a tragic accident on the job.