Logging Safety: A Field Guide

Section Eleven: Logging Safety Program

The success of any safety program hinges on:

  • Clearly stated company policies and work rules (written program is best).
  • Regularly scheduled and informative safety training and meetings.
  • Thorough self-auditing program.
  • Strictly enforced discipline policy for those who break the rules.
  • Involvement, assistance and cooperation of all employees, both management and workers.

Who is Responsible for Safety?

  • You are! Everyone must take the obligation seriously.
  • Unsafe work practices should not be tolerated.
  • Unsafe conditions should not be tolerated.
  • Production should never be more important than safety!

As an Owner You Should:

  • Implement the company safety program.
  • Monitor and require compliance with the company safety program, work rules and OSHA.
  • Foster a work environment where safety is the priority.
  • Provide employees with adequate training necessary to maintain a safe work site.
  • Provide the required PPE.
  • Make sure that purchased supplies and equipment comply with safety standards.
  • Make sure that employee-owned equipment complies with OSHA and company policies.
  • Maintain employee records.

As a Supervisor You Should:

  • Monitor and require compliance with company safety program, work rules, and OSHA.
  • Make sure safety equipment is available and used!
  • Conduct job-site inspections, safety meetings, and training.
  • Supervise the workers!
  • Correct hazards and unsafe practices.
  • Obtain immediate medical attention for workers who are injured.

As a Worker You Should:

  • Comply with the company safety program and work rules.
  • Actively participate in safety training.
  • Ask for assistance and supervision as needed.
  • Use and maintain all equipment in accordance with the safety program, work rules and OSHA standards.
  • Use and maintain your PPE.
  • Report all unsafe acts, practices, conditions, near misses and injuries.
  • Correct unsafe acts, practices or conditions within your immediate work area.

Management Should Provide Each Employee With:

  • Access to the company Health and Safety Program.
  • A copy of company work rules.
  • Access to the OSHA Logging Standard.
  • A specific job description of the tasks expected to be performed.
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs), detailing proper techniques for safely performing the tasks.
  • Detailed instructions on proper use and maintenance of PPE.
  • Training for hazard identification and corresponding safety standards and work rules.
  • On the job training that includes mastery demonstration of safety skills and technical competence.

Logging Safety Training

  • Training should be provided:
    • To each new hire prior to starting work.
    • Whenever a worker is assigned a new work task, tools or equipment.
    • Whenever there is a change in work procedure.
    • Whenever a worker demonstrates unsafe work practices or job performance.
    • Whenever there is a near-miss or accident.
  • Workers who need training must work under close supervision of a designated person until they demonstrate that they can safely perform their duties.

Logging Safety Training Should Include:

  • Hazard identification, prevention and control.
  • Personal protective equipment.
  • Safe felling techniques and chain saw operation.
  • Safe procedures for handling dead trees/widowmakers/snags/lodged trees.
  • Safe machine/skidder operation.
  • Safe use and maintenance of tools, machines and vehicles.
  • Emergency communication and evacuation.
  • Chemical handling
  • Signaling and signal equipment
  • First aid and CPR.
  • Company and site safety requirements and programs.
  • OSHA standards including logging, bloodborne pathogens, personal protective equipment, hearing conservation, lock-out/tag-out, and hazard communication.

Training Records

  • Written training certification must be maintained for each employee.
  • Records must indicate course, date, signature of employer/trainer, and the names of employees trained.
  • If accepting an employee's training from a previous employer or provider (for example, First Aid or CPR training), the employer must verify the content, the documentation with signature of the trainer or the employer, and date(s) of prior training. Per OSHA, the certification record must indicate the date that the new employer determined the prior training was adequate.

Safety Meetings

The owner or supervisor should hold regular safety meetings.

  • Schedule daily, as a best practice.
  • Require all employees to attend.
  • Document with sign-in sheet.
  • Conduct individually, in crews, or in larger groups.
  • Review and discuss the most recent site safety inspection results.
  • Review and discuss the most recent accidents and near misses.
  • Present other selected topics for discussion.
  • Seek worker input, ideas, concerns, and suggestions.
  • Maintain meeting minutes for records.
  • Distribute at the next meeting.

Site Safety Inspections

  • Conduct inspections of logging operations frequently and regularly:
    • Perform at least weekly (daily is better).
    • Audit by owner/supervisor with employee involvement.
    • Develop written inspection check list to identify hazards/problems.
      • Work site review
      • PPE review
      • Review of skill/technique of each worker (observation and feedback)
      • Equipment (machine and vehicle) review
      • Discuss results with workers at next safety meeting
  • Ensure compliance with OSHA safety standards, company safety policies, and company work rules.
  • Maintain records of each on-site inspection.

Investigating Accidents and Near Misses

  • All accidents and near misses must be reported immediately to the owner or supervisor.
    • This includes all events that result in personal injury or property damage.
  • The owner/supervisor/worker should conduct an on-site investigation of each accident and near miss to determine the root cause(s).
    • There is something to be learned from each incident.
  • A written accident investigation form should be prepared and used, with pictures where possible.
  • Investigation results should be posted where employees may observe and comment.
  • Reports should be discussed at the next safety meeting.

Logger Safety Checklist

  • Do you have and use your hard hat, chaps, eye and face protection, hearing protection, foot protection and gloves?
  • Have you been trained on how to identify and control the hazards associated with your job?
  • Have you been trained on work procedures, company and site requirements as well as safe procedures for performing assigned tasks?
  • Are you familiar with the OSHA logging standard?
  • Do you have current First Aid and CPR training certificates?
  • Do you attend and participate in company safety meetings, site safety inspections, and accident investigations?
  • Do you comply with all company rules?
  • Are you receptive to on-the-job safety counseling from a supervisor and co-workers?
  • Do you talk to your supervisor about unusual, unfamiliar and particularly unsafe situations before attempting to deal with them?
  • Do you report all unsafe acts, practices or conditions to your supervisor?
  • Do you correct unsafe acts, practices or conditions within your immediate area?
  • Do you realize that risk-taking will eventually catch up to you?

Management Safety Checklist

  • Does your company have a written safety program with clearly stated work rules?
  • Do your workers understand their role and responsibilities concerning safety?
  • Do you have zero tolerance for unsafe conditions and unsafe acts?
  • Do you provide new employees with a safety orientation?
  • Do you encourage the reporting of unsafe conditions and acts?
  • Do you perform frequent and regular job site safety inspections?
  • Do you investigate accidents and near misses?
  • Do you have regularly scheduled safety training and meetings?
  • Do you periodically evaluate the effectiveness of your safety program (survey, injury data, etc.)?
  • Do you have the assistance and cooperation of your employees?
  • Do your employees follow your work rules?
  • Do you have a discipline policy for workers who won't follow the rules?
  • Do you use it fairly and consistently?
  • Do you lead by the example you set?
  • Do you provide the necessary safety equipment for your workers and make sure they use it?