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NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Logging Safety

Logging has consistently been one of the most hazardous industries in the United States (US). In 2007, the logging industry employed 101,000 workers. In 2006, 95 workers were fatality injured in the logging industry, resulting in a fatality rate of 85.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. This rate is over 20 times higher than the overall private sector fatality rate in the US for the same year. This excessive risk for fatal work injuries points to a need for prioritizing research and intervention programs to make this industry less hazardous.

Through the NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) process, the first steps in defining these priorities for the logging industry have begun. Further information on logging is also available as part of the NORA Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishing Sector activities.

NIOSH Publications on Logging Safety

Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Logger Safety Training Program.
Bell JL, Grushecky ST. 2006, Journal of Safety Research 37(1):53-61.

Mechanical Timber Harvesting Reduces Workers’ Compensation Injury Claims in West Virginia
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-129 (May 2005)

Non-fatal injuries in the West Virginia logging industry: Using workers' compensation claims to assess risk from 1995 through 2001.
Bell JL, Helmkamp JC. 2003, American Journal of Industrial Medicine 44(5):502-509.

Logging injuries for a 10-year period in Jilin Province, People's Republic of China.
Wang J, Bell JL, Grushecky ST. 2003, Journal of Safety Research 34(3):273-279.

Changes in logging injury rates associated with use of feller-bunchers in West Virginia.
Bell JL. 2002, Journal of Safety Research 33(1):463-471.

Helicopter Logging Safety: Alaska Interagency Working Group for the Prevention of Occupational Injuries
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 98-147 (July 1998)
This monograph incorporates proceedings and recommendations from three Helicopter Safety Workshops (conducted in 1995, 1996, and 1997) as well as useful background materials on safety in the helicopter logging industry.

Logging safety and forest management education - A necessary link.
Fosbroke DE, Myers JR. 1996, J FOREST 94 (7): 21-25.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Logging Standard: what it means for forest managers.
Myers JR, Fosbroke DE. 1995, Journal of Forestry. November:34-37.

NIOSH Alert: Request for Assistance in Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Loggers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-101 (May 1995)
En español
This Alert describes six incidents resulting in the deaths of six workers who were performing logging operations. In each incident, the death could have been prevented by using proper safety procedures and equipment and by following the provisions of the OSHA standards.

Logging fatalities in the United States by region, cause of death, and other factors - 1980-1988. Myers JR, Fosbroke DE. 1994, J Safety Res 25:97-105.

Interpreting logging injury statistics. Fosbroke DE, Myers JR,.1992, Paper No. 92-7509. 1992 International Winter Meeting, American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Nashville, TN, 15-18 Dec. 1992.

Job Injuries Among Loggers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 83-104 (January 1983)
This report uses information from four data systems, the National Health Interview Survey, the Social Security Administration Continuous Disability History File, workers compensation and mortality studies from Washington and California to describe nonfatal and fatal injuries among U.S. loggers.

Worker Safety in Logging Operations
HEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 74-103 (April 1974)
This report presents the findings and recommendations for the purpose of identifying those operations within the logging industry which were most hazardous as evidenced by the number and severity of employee injuries.

NIOSH Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Logging from Felling to First Haul
HEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 76-188 (July 1976)
This report presents the recommended standard prepared to meet the need for preventing occupational injuries and deaths in logging operations. The proposed standard includes the operations of felling, bucking, limbing, yarding, and loading. Not included here are road, trail, bridge, and camp construction; equipment safety specifications and design; rigging specifications; chipping operations; transportation (hauling); or subsequent provisions after initial loading operations are accomplished.

In-house Fatality Investigation Reports (conducted under the FACE Program)
State-based Fatality Investigation Reports (conducted under the FACE Program)
Since the inception of the FACE program in 1982, fatal incidents involving logging operations have been investigated by NIOSH and State investigators. These links provide lists of those cases which in turn links to the full-text reports on the FACEWeb.

NIOSHTIC-2 Database - Search for additional NIOSH articles on Logging
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by the NIOSH.

Other NIOSH Publications Related to Logging Safety

Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing National Academy of Science Evidence Report
National Academies Review (December 2006)
This report is the initial “evidence package” from NIOSH to the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Research Program evaluation committee assembled by the NA. We stress “initial” because we believe that the AFF Program review will be best-served by substantial communications between the program and the committee throughout the process. It is understood that the evaluation committee and the NA are charged with executing a thorough review of the program and that to do so it will need much information from the program. We have tried to anticipate those needs with this package. In addition, we look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the committee.

Identifying High-Risk Small Business Industries: The Basis for Preventing Occupational Injury, Illness, and Fatality: NIOSH Special Hazard Review
this document in PDF
  761 KB (155 pages)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-107 (May 1999)
In this report, 253 small business industries were identified with data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the years 1994-1995. From the data for these industries, the top 25% (n=26) were ranked according to their injury, illness, and fatality experience. Of these, Logging (SIC 241) ranked the highest. This information can be used by the small business community, labor officials, occupational safety and health practitioners and agencies, and others to target prevention activities to small business industries with the greatest need.

Occupational Mortality in Washington State, 1950-1989
this document in PDF
  1,050 KB (181 pages)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-133 (March 1997)
This study is the second update of Occupational Mortality in Washington State, 1950-1971, originally published by NIOSH in 1976. The first update published in 1983 covered the years 1950-1979. Total deaths for loggers for this time period was 20,915 and accidents related to falling objects, machinery, fire, and explosion all increased.

NIOSH Alert: Request for Assistance in Preventing Electrocutions of Workers Using Portable Metal Ladders Near Overhead Power Lines
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 89-110 (July 1989)
En español
This Alert describes six deaths that occurred because portable aluminum ladders, which are electrical conductors, came in contact with energized overhead power lines. If nonconductive ladders had been used instead, or if safe working clearances had been maintained, these deaths might have been prevented.

NIOSH Alert: Request for Assistance in Preventing Fatalities of Workers Who Contact Electrical Energy
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 87-103 (December 1986)
This Alert describes recommendations that can be used to help save the lives of workers who contact electrical energy. Recent incidents have shown that electrocution victims can be revived if immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or defibrillation is provided. While immediate defibrillation would be ideal, CPR given within approximately 4 minutes of the electrocution, followed by advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) measures within approximately 8 minutes, can be lifesaving.

Other Pages of Interest

OSHA Logging Advisor
External link:

OSHA Technical Link for Logging Safety
External link:

Page last updated: December 16, 2008
Page last reviewed: March 11, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Safety Research

Logging Safety

Logger using chain saw

Topic Index:

Logging Safety
Logging Fatality Investigation Reports
In-house Reports
State-based Reports

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Traumatic Occupational Injuries

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