Injuries on Mechanized Logging Operations in the Southeastern United States
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The deckhand was the crew member most frequently injured (34% of claims), followed by equipment operators (28%) and truck drivers (24%). The delimbing/topping job function resulted in 24% of injuries, followed by maintenance/repair of equipment (19%), operating equipment (15%), and mounting/dismounting equipment (9%). The injuries occurred on the log deck (41%), in the woods (29%), and at a shop (11%). Most injuries were "struck by" type (50%), but 21% were "falls". The mean claims cost was $10,920 and the median claims cost was $1,200. On fully mechanized operations, 24% of total injuries are still a result of chainsaw delimbing or felling. Equipment operator injuries occur during maintenance/repair (29%) and while mounting/dismounting the equipment (23%). One-third of injuries to truck drivers was the result of motor vehicle accidents.
* A worker performing equipment maintenance or repair, or a worker felling or delimbing a tree not processed by a feller-buncher or delimbing device, has the greatest risk of injury on fully-mechanized operations.
* Mechanization of the delimbing function will reduce but not eliminate the most costly injuries, where a worker on the ground is "struck-by" a tree, limb, or log.
* Equipment maintenance or repair should be performed in the controlled environment of a shop, rather than in the field, in order to decrease injuries.
* Operating a chainsaw is still a very dangerous logging job function, even on mechanized operations. All employees that use a chainsaw should undergo extensive training, and only trained employees should use a chainsaw.
- Masters Theses