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Protect your limbs and your life while felling trees

Pennsylvania is one of the primary producers of hardwood lumber in the country. The logging industry provides work to a significant portion of the manufacturing workforce of the state. Are you one of the thousands of workers who put their lives on the line each day to earn an income and care for their families?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, logging is near the top of the list of most hazardous occupations nationwide. Thousands of workers in this industry are injured or killed every year. The BLS says more than 60 percent of logging accident victims were using chainsaws for limbing, felling or bucking at the time of the accidents.

How safe are you?

If you are lucky, your employer might demonstrate a consistent and genuine concern for the safety of you and your co-workers. However, if employee safety is not a priority, you will have to look out for yourself and learn about logging safety. If you include the following rules in your personal safety protocols, you might escape being maimed or killed on the job:

  • Encourage your co-workers to join you in making safety number one.
  • Do not rush, even at times when you have daily quotas. Hurrying leads to mistakes and taking chances and shortcuts — two things that could cost you a limb, or even your life.
  • Never miss any safety meetings, and learn as much as you can about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulations. Obtaining CPR and First Aid training could be invaluable.
  • Keep an eye out for new, inexperienced workers. Provide advice and guidance because any mistakes they make can threaten the lives of you and your co-workers.
  • Always inspect any equipment before you use it. A proper equipment maintenance schedule is crucial, and if maintenance is part of your duties, include it in your safety protocols.
  • OSHA requirements for personal protective equipment for loggers include eye and hearing protection, a hard hat, foot protection, and logging boots and cut-resistant leg protection if you work with a chainsaw. Never work without the appropriate PPE.
  • Maintain a distance of two tree lengths between yourself and the next worker when felling trees. Maintain audible and visual contact with other workers and keep a lookout for each other.
  • Practice what you learn in chain saw training. Select a safe fall direction for the tree by creating the appropriate notch and hinge and not leaving the hinge unprotected during the backcut.
  • Never neglect to look up and identify potential overhead hazards. Lodged trees and dead limbs can maim and kill loggers.

Last, but certainly not the least; maintain a good physical and mental condition. Personal problems, illness, tiredness, drug or alcohol impairment or a hangover will threaten not only your safety but also the lives of co-workers.

If you maintain your own safety regime, you might escape injury. However, in the event of a logging accident, you can pursue financial assistance to cover medical expenses and lost wages. The claims process could be daunting, but an experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide support and guidance to simplify the proceedings.

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