Logging is by far the most deadly job in the United States with 67 logging deaths reported in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That translates to about 137.7 deaths per 100,000 workers, much higher than the 3.4 per 100,000 average, making logging 39 times more dangerous than the average job. Fishermen faced the second highest rate of death at 54.8 per 100,000 workers.
The most worker fatalities occurred among commercial truck drivers, with 885 deaths reported. Farmers came in second with about 252 total deaths. But with far more truck drivers and farmers than loggers, the rate of deaths per 100,000 workers in those professions is considerably lower.
Loggers provide a vital service, harvesting timber from forests to provide materials for buildings and furniture. Sawdust and fibers are also used to make everything from paper and asphalt to baby food and toilet seats.
Those who work in the timber industry face the same dangers they have faced for decades. Equipment like logging machines and chainsaws still pose serious risks even with advances in technology. Trees themselves are deadly because they are incredibly heavy and carry unavoidable momentum as they roll and slide.
Environmental conditions can pose other risks including uneven, unstable or rough terrain; inclement weather including rain, snow, lightning, winds and extreme cold; and remote worksites far from medical facilities.
To better ensure safety of those who work in the logging industry, Jeff Wimer, senior instructor and manager of the Student Logging Training Program at Oregon State University and chairman of the Western Region of the Council on Forest Engineering, says more safety regulations are needed as well as improved machinery.
“We need to create a safer work environment if we want to attract young people to our industry,” he said. “Logging can be dangerous, but with proper training and awareness, we can greatly reduce the accidents and fatalities that occur all too regularly.”
Source: The Penny Hoarder