Assessing Overall Health and Improving Injury Surveillance of Maine Logging Workers

Overview

Burden: Logging consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous industries in the country.

In 2013, work-related fatality rates for logging workers (91.3 per 100,000 full-time workers [FTE]) were the highest for any civilian occupation1 and nearly twenty-eight times the all worker fatality rate (3.3 per 100,000 FTE) in 2013. In the ten year period from 2004-2013, the Census for Fatal Occupational Injury identified 676 logging fatalities.2  While traumatic for families, coworkers and employers of the victim, these incidents also harbor significant societal and economic costs.3 

Need: The lack of data available on worker health and hazard exposures impedes the ability to set priorities and improve loggers' overall health and safety. In order to establish priorities and measure trends related to occupational safety and health in the logging industry, a reliable method for collecting in-depth, worker health data is essential.

Impact: The long-term goal of this proposal is to gather sufficient data to provide a more complete picture of overall worker health and occupational hazard exposures in the Northeast logging industry. This long-term goal will be accomplished via the three aims of the study, which involve piloting data collection methods for logging industry workers in Maine.

Methods will include quarterly telephone surveys, secondary data analyses, and physical measures (health screening). This research with be guided by a project advisory board, with representation from logging trade organizations, loggers, insurance companies, occupational medicine experts, and safety professionals. Maine has the largest percentage of forest cover [excluding Alaska] of any US state (84%)4 and the largest logging workforce in the Northeast (2,458 workers).5 Findings in Maine are likely representative of the experience for loggers in other Northeast states.

Specific Aims

Specific Aim 1: Assess and improve logging injury surveillance systems

Specific Aim 2: Conduct a total worker health assessment of the Maine logging workforce

Specific Aim 3: Identify factors related to injuries and worker health in the Maine logging workforce

NORA priorities addressed

Strategic Goals 1 (Surveillance), 6 (Forestry Safety), and 7 (Forestry Health)

Research Team

Paul Jenkins, PhD                 

Erika Scott, PhD                    

Liane Hirabayashi, MA

Myranda Steingraeber, BS          

Nicole Krupa                          

John May, MD            


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