New sawmill safety infographic package

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Statistics, hazard alert, and safety talks

Sawmill Safety Information Package

Worker at machine controls in sawmillThe sawmill safety information package is a new free resource for employers and workers in Ontario. The four-page sector-specific brochure includes an infographic on the latest health and safety statistics, a hazard alert that points out top hazards, and safety discussion points for workers, supervisors, and employers to bring up in their workplace.

“We’re getting a lot of great feedback from companies about this detailed sector-specific focus on workplace health and safety,” says Tom Welton, Industrial Director at Workplace Safety North (WSN). “Both workers and employers find it very helpful to see what’s going on in their industry in terms of health and safety, and how their own organization compares. They’re finding the infographic helpful, and the information provided in the hazard alert and safety talks give them relevant tools they can use in their workplace.”

Majority of traumatic injuries are from contact with equipment and objects

Cover of Sawmill Safety Information Package

71% of all injuries to sawmill workers are from being struck by objects or equipment, or from a fall

For workers in Ontario sawmills, about half of all lost-time injuries –  that is, injuries severe enough to require one or more day lost from work – are caused by bodily contact with mobile or stationary machinery. Another 11 per cent of injuries are caused by falls. Types of injuries included concussion, fractures, bruises, sprains, cuts and splinters. 

Machinery injuries

  • 49% of all injuries to sawmill workers occur from contact with machinery – either mobile or stationary; such as being struck by a piece of wood or machinery, or getting caught in equipment.
  • A worker was fatally struck by a loader in a mill yard.
  • 67% of the lost-time injuries from getting caught in in machinery involved workers aged 15 to 24; and the remaining 33% involved workers aged 45 to 54.
  • From 2014 to 2015, lost-time injuries from being struck by an object – usually wood or mobile equipment – increased 300%.

Fall injuries

  • 22% of all injuries to sawmill workers are the result of a fall at the same or to a lower level.
  • Lost-time injuries from falls or jumps to lower level tended to be workers aged 45 to 64.
  • Lost-time injuries from falls at same level occurred across all age groups.

Recent injuries Ontario sawmills

What happened?

Being struck by objects, machinery, or caught in equipment are leading causes of lost-time injuries in Ontario sawmills. Industry incidents include: pinched hand; cut from utility knife while slicing strapping from a bundle; crushed leg after getting caught between conveyor and support roller; severe cuts to hand from unguarded saw; severe injury from lumber kickback due to worn edger.

Falls to the same or lower level are a leading cause of lost-time injuries for sawmill workers in Ontario. Industry incidents include: leg injury from a fall through open floor grating; ankle injury from tripping over railroad tracks; slipping on icy surfaces; leg and knee injuries from jumping down from equipment.

How could these injuries have been prevented?

  • Around machinery: Focus attention on the task at hand, be aware of the hazards around mobile equipment and stationary machines; follow established procedures and maintain proper engineering controls, such as machine guarding and lockout. 
  • New and young workers require special supervision and orientation. New and young workers are unfamiliar with the job and the work environment, and it’s up to supervisors to provide additional supervision and orientation to help them understand workplace hazards and review controls in place for safety. 
  • Fall prevention includes sanding and maintenance of slippery areas; steps are kept clear of ice and snow; suitable footwear that is properly laced; and ensuring three-point contact is maintained when mounting and dismounting equipment. Good housekeeping ensures no trip hazards from garbage or clutter. 
  • Traffic management plan: A mill yard traffic management plan provides life-saving guidance to workers, contractors, and visitors, and ensures the safety of pedestrians and the safe flow of all vehicles and equipment traffic. Download and share free traffic planning resource:

Safety discussion points included on the last page of the brochure include safe use of machinery and fall prevention.

For more information, please contact your WSN Health and Safety Specialist.


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