Documentation of hazards and safety perceptions for mechanized logging operations in east central Alabama
The logging industry remains one of the most hazardous in the nation. Despite more stringent safety regulations and improvements in equipment safety features, the rate of logging fatalities has decreased at a much lower rate than the decrease in the rate of illnesses and injuries in the same occupation. The objective of this research was to identify and assess the hazards associated with logging operations in the Southeast region of the U.S. and propose interventions, taking into consideration the fact that, currently, most operations in the region are fully mechanized. Five logging crews in East Central Alabama participatd in the study and were observed repeatedly during their noma: operations. Researchers observed loggers engaging in multiple unsafe behaviors, but none of those led to an injury. The incidence of unsafe behaviors may be due in part to a lack of awareness of the hazards. Results indicate that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations appear to have little influence on logging safety. Loggers believe that most safety training recommendations are difficult to implement and negatively impact productivity. Thus, there seem to be fundamental drawbacks in the logging industry regarding effective delivery of safety training to loggers. The present study was a joint venture by the Industrial and Systems Engineering and Psychology departments of Auburn University, with support from the United States Forest Service (USFS).