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Consider the risks before joining the ranks of the loggers

Are you one of the many young people planning to enter the logging industry in Missouri? You may not realize that it is the most deadly occupation if you look at the number of deaths per 100,000 workers. Authorities are concerned about the fact that all the safety regulations that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration put in place years ago seem to make little difference.

Safety advocates say improved safety regulations for both manual logging and equipment use may save some lives. They also want to create a culture in which young workers can become future leaders and set examples for others when it comes to on-the-job employee safety for loggers.

What does logging involve?

Logging is the process of harvesting timber from forests. Trees provide materials for buildings and furniture, but did you know that wood fibers form part of the ingredients in paper, asphalt and even baby food? The problem is that felling the trees often takes place on hazardous terrains.

Hazards that loggers face

Safety authorities say that loggers are safer when they are in machines rather than manually felling and moving the trees. The following notes might help to prepare you for the hazards you will face as a logger:

  • Terrain -- A significant percentage of the job will require you to work on the ground because the protection-providing machinery cannot operate at slopes exceeding 50 percent, and much of the terrain will be rugged and steeper than this limit.
  • Tools and equipment -- OSHA warns that the very machines that offer protection can also be life threatening. Without proper training in the safe use of chainsaws and logging machines, you could be putting your life and those of your co-workers in jeopardy.
  • Force of nature -- The safety agency also points out that a felled tree on a slope poses a significant hazard. The combination of its weight and the momentum when it starts rolling makes it unstoppable and able to flatten anything in its path.
  • Environmental conditions -- Inclement weather, such as wind, rain, lightning, snow and extreme cold, can exacerbate the dangers of rough, uneven and unstable terrain.
  • Medical facilities -- Loggers do most of their work in remote locations far from any medical facilities. Their workplace injuries are often severe, and, for this reason, every logging crew must have at least one person with first-aid training to stabilize an injured worker until paramedics get there.

Although safety authorities are diligently working on improving safety standards for loggers, there is always the chance that you may find yourself in a hospital and in need of workers' compensation benefits sometime in the future if you pursue a career in this industry. If that happens, you may claim compensation for medical expenses and lost income, and if your injury caused a permanent disability, you might receive additional benefits. The support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation may ease the claims process.

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