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What dangers to expect for a California logger

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2018 | Workplace Injuries |

Sometimes you’ll find that the most hazardous jobs on the market may not be in the city. Thanks to the recent documentation about 2016 work fatalities by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Insider could identify the most dangerous jobs in America. The logging workers ultimately won the top spot, as they had a fatality rate of 135.9 and a non-fatal injury rate of 2,449 out of 100,000 workers.

With its vast amount of forests and dying trees, California is one of the top places for a lumberjack to work. However, if you know a loved one who is involved in the industry, it is crucial that you are aware of the potential risks they face when they head out to chop down trees.

Widow makers

As the name suggests, this is arguably the biggest hazard loggers have to deal with. While a worker may be trained in what angle to cut the tree from and where to stand when the wood is falling, that doesn’t mean every part of the tree will fall into the same place. “Widow makers” are the dead branches near the top of the tree that the logger cannot see. When the tree starts falling to the side, these limbs can fall straight down and strike the worker in the head. The weight and velocity of the branch will likely be enough to kill them.

There have been extra precautions taught to avoid some of these injuries. Loggers should properly inspect the tree to see if there are any loose or detached branches and try to get them down before cutting the tree. In addition, some workers now use mechanical tree fellers rather than chain saws to give them protection, which drops injury rates by 73 percent.

Harsh weather

It comes as no surprise that one of the biggest enemies of these outdoor workers is Mother Nature herself. Any form of extreme weather can present a large risk to them and their work. If it is a hot day in California, loggers need to keep themselves properly hydrated as they can run out of breath easily with the amount of physical work in this job. If woodcutters have to deal with wet conditions during rain or snow, they must wear the right protective gear, check on the conditions of their chainsaws and be cautious of the slippery grounds.

Arguably the riskiest weather conditions to work with are high winds. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) warns workers to avoid cutting wood down during heavy winds to avoid any widow makers or having any weak trees nearby fall on them.

Equipment failure

The machinery that California logging workers use are heavy, delicate and life-threatening. Anyone who mishandles these chainsaws or cutters could be putting themselves as well as others in the area at serious risks. Any supervisor needs to check to see if this dangerous equipment can properly function before handing it off to another worker.

As with any other job, negligence and a lack of training can place the workers in harm’s way. With how deadly this position can be in the unpredictable forests of California, proper techniques and etiquette must be used to ensure everyone’s safety. If you or a loved one suffer from serious injuries by a logger, you can get help from a lawyer to get you the compensation you need to help in the recovery.


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