Logging Safety: A Field Guide

Section One: Logging Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Use to protect the head, ears, eyes,face, hands, legs and feet.
  • Wear even in hot weather.
  • Inspect before each use.
  • Does not eliminate the hazards!

Training and enforcement of PPE use are responsibilities of the employer. Employer must provide PPE to employees at no cost (except boots).

Head Protection

Many loggers are killed by being struck in the head by falling/flying objects (limbs, branches, etc.). Even the smallest piece of wood can be deadly.

  • Hard hats must be worn!
  • Hard hats are designed to absorb energy.
  • Hard hats should be of a high visibility color.
  • Head protection must be ANSI approved; look for the ANSI Z89.1 stamp.

Hearing Protection Noise Facts

  • Time Weighted Average (TWA) represents the average noise level you are exposed to in an 8-hour workday including all levels of noise experienced.
  • Workplace exposure limits are expressed in units of decibels. Decibels are measured using an A-weighted scale (dBA) for noise level, which adjusts noise measurements using a built-in A-weighted filter that largely ignores low frequency sound energy just as the human ears do.
  • OSHA requires that all employers administer a hearing conservation program whenever worker noise exposures equal or exceed 8-hour TWA of 85 dBA.
  • Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss.
  • Some hearing loss occurs naturally as you age.
  • Work-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss from recreational activities may be irreversible.
  • Hearing loss may impact your enjoyment of life.
  • Ears are not designed to deal with harmful loud noises, such as that produced by a chainsaw (110 dBAs).
  • Hearing loss may be gradual, so it is not always obvious.
  • Noise may increase your blood pressure.

Hearing Protection: Typical Noise Levels & Time-Weighted Averages

  • Loader: 85 TWA (dBA)
  • Skidder: 88 TWA (dBA)
  • Dozer: 97 TWA (dBA)
  • Timber Cutter: 104 TWA (dBA)
  • Remember the timber cutter's 104 dBA level takes into account that the saw only runs about half of the time!
  • The dozer and timber cutter operators' noise exposures exceed 90 TWA (dBA); they need hearing protection!
  • Protect your ears! All logging workers should use hearing protection.

Hearing Protection

  • Whenever workers' noise exposures equal or exceed an 8 hour TWA of 85 dBA, hearing protection is required.
  • Employers must make hearing protection available for all workers at no cost to the workers.
  • Employees must wear hearing protection, such as ear muffs or ear plugs. Cotton balls are not acceptable protection.
  • The hearing protection:
    • Must be capable of limiting exposure to less than 90 dBA for 8 hours (use NRR rating*).
    • Must be used and cared for according to the manufacturer.
    • Must be kept clean so as to avoid infecting the ear.

*NRR is the Noise Reduction Rating listed on each hearing protection container.

Eye and Face Protection

  • Eye and face protection must be worn for all logging operations.
  • Logger-type mesh screens are considered adequate eye and face protection for chain saw users.
  • Equipment must comply with ANSI standards; look for the ANSI stamp.
  • Do not wear regular glasses or sunglasses.

Leg Protection

Each worker who operates a chain saw must wear leg protection, commonly in the form of saw chaps.

  • Chaps are made of cut-resistant material such as Kevlar or ballistic nylon.
  • Chaps must extend from upper thigh down to boot top.
  • Chaps must be Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved; check the tag located on the outside of the chaps.
  • The average cost of chaps is $75.00.
  • The average medical cost for a leg injury from a chain saw is $7,500.

Trousers should be kept at proper length to prevent tripping hazards. NO CUFFS!

Foot and Hand Protection

  • Employers must ensure that workers wear foot protection.
    • Boots should be heavy duty and water-repellent.
    • Boots should cover and support the ankle.
    • Cut-resistant boots are required by OSHA for chain saw operators. They must be UL approved.
  • Employers must require and provide hand protection for all workers who are exposed to hand hazards.
    • Gloves are required for all workers who handle wire rope.
    • Gloves for wire rope handling should be cotton or equivalent.

Torso/Upper Body Protection

  • Clothing should be properly fitted.
    • No dangling shirt tails.
    • No cuffs.
    • No loose or fraying materials.
    • No bare skin; cover up even in hot weather.