Forestry or working in the woods for the lumber industry is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. As a lumber professional, you have a much higher than average risk of injury or even death on the job.
Recognizing what risk factors make your job so dangerous can help you better protect yourself. The three job risks below are among the biggest concerns for those working in timber or agroforestry.
Chainsaws make work easier but much more dangerous
Of all the tools you might need to handle on the job, a chainsaw may be the most dangerous. It can rip through wood and even metal, as well as human flesh and bone.
The risk for recoil is a constant threat. The chainsaw might suddenly jump backward, striking a worker or someone else nearby. Even if the device doesn’t cut anyone, constantly lifting and maneuvering a chainsaw could lead to repetitive motion injuries in the arms, shoulders or back.
Once the chainsaws do their job, new risks arise
The risk in the lumber industry doesn’t end once a tree is cut. When it falls, there are all kinds of workplace hazards. The path of the tree itself could become unpredictable, regardless of how carefully workers plan the cut or account for whether factors like the wind. When the tree falls, it could slide, bounce or toss up debris, any of which could injure or even kill a worker.
Transportation remains a big risk in the lumber industry
Once workers have felled the trees, they will still need to load and then transport the logs. Whether they go to a company-owned storage facility for seasoning or they go straight to a mill for processing, both the process of loading the lumber onto a truck and driving it out of the remote location are risk factors for lumber employees. When on the open roads, lumber employees are still at risk of crashes that could mean long-term injuries.
Understanding risk factors can help you make better choices. However, it is also important to understand your rights in case you get hurt. If you get hurt in a work accident, knowing what kind of compensation you can request and the obligations of your employer will make it easier for you to get the support you deserve.