It's no secret that logging is an important, yet risky, profession. The very nature of the job puts workers in perilous positions that require years of experience and expertise to navigate.
According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the fatality rate for the logging industry is nearly 74 deaths per 100,000 workers. That's more than 20 times higher than the standard fatality rate in the United States.
If you work in this profession, then you know that logging accidents are not only common, but they can also be costly. That's why you want to make sure you're appropriately protected with a robust insurance policy that can help you recover properly.
Today, we're covering 12 of the most common accidents that can occur on the job, and why it's smart to insure against them.
1. Falling Objects
Loggers are primarily responsible for felling trees and transporting the logs from one site to another. While this task sounds simple in nature, in reality, it's anything but.
Loggers not only work directly with chainsaws and other types of heavy-duty equipment, but they also work in environments that can be treacherous, often felling trees on uneven terrain or in inclement weather.
As they attempt to maneuver on this ground, there's always the risk that a limb, log, or entire tree could fall, roll, or slide on top of them. If the log has already been cut, then it could fall from a piece of loading equipment, such as a skidder, logging truck, or loading platform.
In addition, falling branches are also a concern. Loggers who work at high altitudes are especially vulnerable to this type of accident, as they're closer to top branches when they're in a bucket truck lift or working in the tree itself. Meanwhile, workers below them are also at risk, as they could accidentally drop heavy tools and equipment from their perch.
2. Slips and Falls
Slips and falls account for more than eight million hospital room emergency room visits each year. They're also some of the most common logging injuries. There are many perils that could cause a logger to slip, from muddy ground to rocky earth.
The natural world is also full of many trip hazards, from sinkholes and tree limbs to boulders and wet leaves. These obstacles are on the ground, where anyone could fall on them. Loggers who are working at higher altitudes are also at risk of falling from their lifts.
3. Striking Objects
Objects that strike usually move at quicker speeds than objects that fall. In addition to limbs, trees, and logs, loggers could also be struck by smaller objects while on the job, such as:
- Wood chips
- Stone and rocks
- Tree bark
These objects can become airborne when they come into contact with any type of logging equipment, such as a chainsaw. In addition, even that equipment could pose a strike risk if they malfunction. This is especially the case with gear that isn't properly sharpened or maintained.
4. Trapping Incidents
Logging is a fast-paced profession. These experts are constantly repositioning themselves or their equipment and there are many moving parts going at one time. In addition, they're working with materials that are largely cylindrical in nature, such as logs, which increases their propensity to roll.
As such, loggers can get trapped or caught in-between objects, such as their logging truck and a large limb. Or, they could get stuck between two pieces of machinery. When this happens, it can result in crushed limbs and other types of injuries.
5. Extreme Temperatures
Loggers don't usually get to take a day off when the weather isn't cooperating. Rather, they are required to work in many different types of conditions, including extremely hot and extremely cold climates.
In some situations, overexertion or overexposure can lead to heatstroke on one extreme, and hypothermia on the other. Though less common, loggers could also suffer injuries from other weather-related events, such as a lightning strike.
6. Equipment Malfunctions
Many logging injuries occur as a result of equipment that is either broken or used incorrectly. Depending on their position, loggers are required to use a variety of forestry tools, including:
- Stump grinders
- Feller bunchers
- Log loaders
These experts are required to be properly trained on how to use each piece of equipment before they begin work. However, there's always the risk of mishandling a tool. In addition, if a tool isn't properly serviced, it could become faulty over time, which makes it more at risk of breaking down and harming an operator.
7. Motor Vehicle Accidents
Loggers are among those workers who have to travel frequently for their jobs. In addition to driving from Point A to Point B in their work trucks, these experts are also tasked with operating the following types of vehicles:
If any of these collides with another object (including another vehicle), then it can injure the drivers. In addition, a motor vehicle accident can also result in property damage.
8. Crane Accidents
There are many different types of jobs that require the use of a crane. Forestry and logging are two of them. This is an incredibly heavy and complex piece of equipment that requires entire teams to operate safely.
While loggers should be thoroughly trained on how to operate a crane if their position requires it, accidents can still happen. For instance, operators could get distracted, the machinery could malfunction, or the weather could cause operations to become slippery or otherwise unsafe.
If any of these factors apply, then the crane could move against the operator's will. This could injure the driver and any nearby parties, and could also lead to extensive property damage.
9. Fires and Explosions
Woodworking facilities are prone to fires and explosions, and this can apply to logging facilities, as well. These environments contain vast quantities of two types of materials that should never interact in an unmonitored environment: fuel and flammable items.
The fuel, of course, comes in the form of wood and wood products, such as sawdust. The flammable materials include liquid propane required to run internal combustion engines, as well as solvents, adhesives, and any other types of chemicals that loggers may need.
If these items inadvertently interact without proper oversight, it could result in a fire emergency. These can lead to burns, smoke inhalation, and other types of injuries.
10. Hearing Loss
Logging injuries can affect any part of your body, including your eardrum. You might not think much about it if you're only around the sound of a chainsaw for a short period of time, but consider the impact that daily, continuous use could have.
At their loudest, these tools run at approximately 115 decibels. This noise level is 32 times louder than a normal conversation and could lead to long-term hearing loss in loggers who are constantly exposed.
11. Vibration Injuries
Not only are chainsaws incredibly loud, but they also create an uncomfortable vibration that can be difficult to sustain. Yet, loggers are required to hold and maneuver them for hours on end.
Over time, this continuous movement can interfere with the blood circulation in a logger's palms and fingers. When this happens, it can lead to a condition called Vibration White Finger, or VWF.
While this condition can usually be reversed or treated if caught early, it could permanently damage the tissues in an operator's fingers.
12. Improper Loading or Tie-Down Procedures
When a logger fails to properly load or tie-down logs on the back of their logging truck, then those materials could slip out of the vehicle and potentially harm another motorist.
Keep in mind that these are major sections of trees, and each one could weigh thousands of pounds. While this type of cargo is most likely to become loose in a truck after a collision or accident, it could fall off if an operator doesn't appropriately secure it before driving away.
When the debris becomes airborne, it can cause a motor vehicle crash. In addition to personal injury, the collision could also result in extensive property damage.
Insure Your Team Against These Types of Logging Accidents
Most loggers enter into this profession fully aware of the dangers and risks that they could face. Yet, the frequency of logging accidents doesn't discount their serious importance.
By purchasing insurance for loggers, you can help make sure that if an accident does occur, you're protected. Our team specializes in providing insurance across the lumber industry, and we're here to help you get started.
From general liability insurance to workers' compensation, commercial auto, and equipment breakdown coverage, we offer it all. Interested in learning more? Get a quote today to get started!