When you make your living as a logger, you face a level of on-the-job risk higher than that faced by workers across most other professions. In addition to regularly working in remote locations where medical care is often unavailable, the nature of your job typically requires that you work from heights, with heavy machinery and for long stretches of time.
Just how dangerous is working in the logging industry, and where do you face some of the most substantial risks?
By the numbers: Logging injuries and deaths
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, logging professionals suffered more than 8,300 nonfatal job-related illnesses and injuries severe enough to prevent them from working between 2006 and 2015. Meanwhile, another 655 logging workers lost their lives in work-related accidents during that same period.
While these numbers may not initially seem so alarming, they become increasingly worrisome once you consider the fact that there were only about 51,000 logging professionals employed nationally in 2015. In other words, while the number of injured and killed workers may seem small, the numbers actually account for a significant percentage of all logging professionals, meaning your profession has an uncharacteristically high injury and illness rate when compared to most others.
Common causes of logging injuries
Certain types of accidents hurt and kill logging professionals more than others. For example, nearly three-quarters of all logging fatalities reported in 2015 involved workers struck by falling trees. In about 17 percent of fatal logging accidents reported in 2015, more than one tree or log contributed to worker deaths, while special machinery used to cut or process wood in the logging industry played a role in another 17 percent of worker fatalities.
Your employer has a duty to protect you on the clock to the fullest extent possible. Even the most careful workers and employers, however, cannot prevent all logging-related accidents and injuries.