Ross Logging was fined $42,000 by OSHA for exposing workers to amputation hazards at an Elkview, West Virginia, worksite. The Occupational Health & Safety Administration issued the latest citations Sept. 9, 2015.
OSHA says employees were operating chainsaws without cut-resistant boots or socks and were "drop starting" chainsaws (i.e., holding the starting cord while allowing the saw to drop) while felling trees, exposing them to severe lacerations and amputations hazards.
OSHA said its inspectors also found that employees were not working within visual or audible contact of each other, and that the employer failed to provide first-aid kits at the worksite.
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"Logging has been recognized as one of the most hazardous industries, and has been the source of seven fatalities in West Virginia since Jan. 1, 2013," said Prentice Cline, OSHA's area director in Charleston, WV. Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which showed the rate of fatal work injuries in 2014 was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time workers, the same as in 2013. While this reflects improvement overall - workers are putting in more hours - forestry jobs still rank as the most dangerous.
Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for the largest share (28%) of fatal occupational injuries of any occupation group. Fatal work injuries in this group rose 3 percent to 1,289 in 2014. Fatalities involving logging workers were up 31 percent to 77 last year. Fatal injuries in forestry and logging rose to 92 in 2014, up from 81 in 2013 and the highest total since 2008.
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