Oregon OSHA's

Health and Safety Resource

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October 2016

Staying safe in the woods:
10 rules to remember

If you have been following the logging news, you might be aware of the relatively high number of workers who have died in the woods this year – there were nine fatalities by the end of August. Although four of those cases did not come under Oregon OSHA’s jurisdiction – the workers were independent contractors, had no employees, and elected not to take workers compensation insurance – the five remaining fatalities equal the number of loggers who died last year. But the long-term trend suggests that logging fatalities will remain relatively low, especially compared to the number of loggers who died in the 1980s.
(See chart.)

What has not changed since the 1980s, however, is how loggers die: most are struck by trees, logs, limbs, or equipment. Although advances in technology and modern logging equipment have made logging safer, the injury source remains tied to the nature of the work: cutting and moving timber. And as long as loggers are needed to accomplish those tasks, safe work practices are essential to reducing the number of struck-by incidents.

These 10 Oregon OSHA rules are among those most frequently cited since 2015. They also have the highest average penalties per violation. Keep them in mind. Following them will keep your logging operation safet - and save you money, too.


Cable yarding work practices (437-007-0925) Average penalty: $1,833

Key point:

Employees must be in the clear of trees, logs, root wads, chunks, rolling material, all lines, and rigging before any lines are moved; “in the clear” means “a position within the work area where the probability of hazardous contact with vehicles, machines, falling trees, moving logs, rootwads, chunks, material, rigging, and equipment is minimized by distance from the hazards or use of physical barriers, such as stumps, trees, terrain, or other objects providing protection.”


Anchoring (437-007-0665)
Average penalty: $538

Key points:

When a standing tree is used as an anchor:

  • A potential failure zone must be established that identifies the area into which the tree, or parts of the tree, could fall, slide, or roll as well as all trees, logs, lines, and material in the affected area.
  • A competent person must decide what a suitable anchor is and inspect it regularly.
  • The line or strap must be attached to the base of the tree.
  • The tree must be tied back if it is within reach of any worker, the landing area, or haul road.
  • Affected personnel must be notified of the standing tree anchor and the potential failure zone.


Safety and health program (437-007-0100) Average penalty: $526

Key point:

Every employer must have a written safety and health program that establishes management commitment, supervisory responsibilities, accident investigation, employee involvement, hazard identification, training, and an annual evaluation of the program.


Flagging (437-007-0510
Average penalty: $417

Key points:

Warning signs and a flagger must be positioned in advance of active operations (or other equivalent protection must be used) on roads to control traffic where hazardous conditions are created from forest activities, such as:

  • Skylines and running lines or rigging across road grades (excluding tightened guylines).
  • The movement of logs, chunks, or debris across or suspended over road grades.
  • Timber cutting operations.
  • Helicopter logging operations.
  • Flaggers must wear a high-visibility vest and use an 18-inch by 18-inch stop-slow paddle to control traffic.


Reporting fatalities and hospitalizations to Oregon OSHA (437-001-0700) Average penalty: $400

Key point:

Report the death of an employee or a catastrophe to Oregon OSHA within eight hours of the time the event happened. A catastrophe is an event in which two or more employees are killed, or three or more employees are admitted to a hospital or other medical facility.


Head protection (437-007-0305)
Average penalty: $242

Key point:

Where head injuries are possible from falling or flying objects, provide and require the use of hard hats that comply with ANSI Z89 requirements for head protection. Employees working in or under a vehicle cab or canopy do not have to wear a hard hat while in, or under, the vehicle.


General machine requirements (437-007-0710)
Average penalty: $172

Key points:

  • Machine decks, drums, and other surfaces where employees walk or stand must be constructed of or covered with a nonslip material suitable for the footwear they wear.
  • All exposed moving parts, such as shafts, pulleys, belts, conveyers, and gears on machinery and equipment must be guarded in accordance with Oregon OSHA’s Division 2, Subdivision O, machinery and machine guarding requirements.


Signaling and communications (437-007-0940)
Average penalty: $148

Key points:

  • Standard yarding system whistle signals must be used at cable logging operations.
  • All radio-controlled carriages and motorized skycars must have a warning horn that is sounded when any carriage function is activated.
  • An audible signal must always be sounded before any line is moved.


Leg protection (437-007-0325)
Average penalty: $147

Key point:

Employees who operate chain saws must wear flexible ballistic nylon pads, chaps, or other equivalent protection in a manner that protects their legs from the top of the thigh to the top of the boot. This does not apply to employees who work aloft in trees and are supported by climbing spurs and climbing belts.


Personal protective equipment and programs, general requirements (437-007-0300)
Average penalty: $105

Key points:

When employers are required to provide personal protective equipment to their employees, it must be at no cost; covered PPE includes:

  • Head protection
  • Eye and face protection
  • Hand protection
  • Leg protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Personal floatation devices
  • Respiratory protection

Employers are not required to pay for logging boots.


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For general information, technical answers, or information about Oregon OSHA services, please call 503-378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, 800-922-2689.