Infographic shows contact with objects, equipment top list of injuries
Of the more than 2,500 Ontarians who work full-time in the logging industry, the majority of lost-time injuries – injuries severe enough to cause a worker to lose time from work – are from contact with objects or equipment, including being struck by a tree, and contact with equipment, according to the latest 2015 injury statistics from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
When you imagine the variety of machinery, terrain and weather these outdoor workers come into contact with – from chainsaws, chicots (rotted or dead trees and limbs), remote winter logging roads, and massive machinery, raising awareness and an emphasis on prevention can help prevent 35 per cent of all workplace injuries for this group of workers.
For as long as conventional and mechanical logging has been around, there has been a danger of injury from equipment and machinery. Safe use of machinery, as well as a ‘lock-out/tag-out’ program for conducting maintenance or removing a jam, are critical.
The second most common injury for these workers are falls, typically at the same or to a lower level. For example, a slip or trip over ground level debris, or falling from a non-moving vehicle represents about 25 per cent of all logging workplace injuries.
Following at a close third, 24 per cent of injuries occur due to bodily reaction and exertion, including injuries from excessive physical effort, bodily movement, or repetitive strain.
Other injuries, such as transportation incidents, explosion, exposures to harmful substances or environment make up 16 per cent of all other injuries.
Daily exposure to noisy machinery has also resulted in 26 WSIB claims for noise-induced hearing loss. The importance of using personal protective equipment such as earplugs is paramount.
Workplace Safety North (WSN) field staff are available to conduct dosimeter surveys of work areas to identify issues with noise levels compared to legislative standards and provide recommendations. They also conduct on-site audits to identify machine guarding, lockout and other machine hazards, and share recommendations with regards to specific slip and fall hazards identified in the workplace. WSN ergonomists can provide site-specific recommendations relating to the prevention of MSDs.
There has been a 5 per cent increase in the injury rate for this group of workers in the past year, and all workplace parties need to be vigilant about identifying and controlling the many potential hazards in this unique sector.
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INFOGRAPHIC: Forestry Sector Injury and Illness statistics - WSIB data on injury rates, injury patterns, and occupational disease claims