Skip links

Maine Logger Health & Safety Study

The Real Life Stories behind the Statistics

The stakes
could not be higher.

At the Northeast Center, one of our jobs is to find solutions that support the health of loggers and reduce the rate of injuries in the industry. To do that requires understanding the everyday stories behind the statistics that make logging one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. For this study, we set out to learn specifically about the health and safety concerns of loggers in Maine, a state with more forest cover than any other contiguous U.S. state and with the largest logging workforce in the Northeast. We have collected feedback from hundreds of Maine loggers through a series of questionnaires and in-person health screenings. Guided by an advisory board of industry insiders, including loggers themselves, this project aims to identify a practical path to ensuring logging remains a safe and prosperous career well into the future.

$9.8 B
Maine’s forestry-related business
$882 M
Due directly to ME logging

Source: Crandall M, Kihza AR, McCullock K, Bick S, Clark J, Anderson G. Maine’s Logging Economy. Orono, Maine: University of Maine; 2015.

Study Findings

A series of surveys were foundational to understanding Maine loggers’ health and safety. Loggers gave their feedback every season for nearly two years. A wide range of topics were covered including injuries, aches and pains, health insurance, work satisfaction, tick-borne disease, protective equipment and footwear, overall health, to diet and exercise, just to name a few. Participants had the option to answer the surveys by mail, telephone, text message link, or email.

Work Safety Facts (PDF)

Work Health Facts (PDF)

The Northern Logger (PDF)

Dec 2020 issue

Meet the Study Team

We bring together a variety of public health disciplines to ensure the project’s success by partnering with colleagues and community members across Maine.

Erika Scott, PhD

Principal Investigator

Liane Hirabayashi, MA

Senior Research Coordinator

Cristina Hansen Ruiz, PhD

Research Assistant

Judy Graham, RN

Occupational Health Nurse

Paul Jenkins, PhD

Statistician

Logger Health Screenings

A core component of the study was conducting logger health screenings or physical exams. The study team brought the doctor’s office right to the machinery garages of logging companies throughout Maine. Screenings were held during full-day safety training sessions, and loggers participated at their convenience throughout the day. Health screenings were conducted by occupational health specialists and included:

Cardiac risk assessments

Carbon monoxide tests

Blood pressure, blood sugar & cholesterol tests

Height, weight and waist-hip ratios

Hearing screenings

Vision screenings

Lung capacity tests

Physical exam (musculoskeletal & neurological issues)

Every logger received a scorecard of their results. We referred loggers without health insurance to an insurance navigator in their area. We also connected loggers without a primary care doctor or insurance to free and/or sliding-scale clinics in their area if they needed follow-up care. We were able to accomplish this by working collaboratively with local medical professionals and community members.

OUR DEDICATED TEAM OF EXPERTS

Our Practitioners

These committed healthcare providers assisted with research data collection at logging companies across Maine.

Raymond Hicks, MD, MPH, MSc

Silwana Sidorczuk, MD

Peggy Akers, NP

Our Advisors

The Advisory Board’s role is to provide boots-on-the-ground guidance for logging-related research at the Northeast Center. Collectively, the board ensures our research is timely and addresses the most pressing needs of the industry. They assess research design, suggest changes or improvements to our plans, and help us network with industry professionals.

Andy Wood, CSHO, GOL

The MEMIC Group

Safety Management Consultant – Forest Products

Anil Raj Kizha, PhD

University of Maine, School of Forest Resources

Assistant Professor of Forest Operations

Dana Doran

Professional Logging Contractors of Maine

Executive Director

Eric Vannah

Eric Vannah Logging

Owner

Michael Rowland, MD

Franklin Memorial Hospital, MaineHealth

Medical Director, Occupational Health

Mike St. Peter

Certified Logging Professionals

Director

Patrick Sirois

Maine Forest Products Council

Director of the Maine Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Raymond Hicks, MD, MPH, MSc

Advisor

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Steve Bick, PhD

Northeast Forests, LLC

Owner / Founder

Ted Clark, CLCS

Acadia Insurance Company

Loss Control Consultant

Victor Tardiff

Maine Department of Labor

Statistician

Wendy Farrand

WFarrand Consulting

Owner

Project Resources

Health and safety in the Maine woods: Assemblage and baseline characteristics of a longitudinal cohort of logging workers

Research Article featured on Wiley Online Library

Read Article

Listen Up: Protecting your Hearing on the Job, The Logger’s Voice

Trade publication article featured on Yumpu.com

Read article

Personal Protective Equipment and Safety Training: Getting the Attention It Should? The Logger’s Voice

Trade publication article featured on Yumpu.com

Read article

A Look at Logger Health and Safety in Maine. The Northern Logger

Trade publication article download

Download Article

Live from the Loggers Expo, The Northern Logger

Podcast interview at minute 32:23

Listen to Podcast

The Only Logger in the Woods, The Northern Logger

Logging Stories from New Jersey and Rhode Island

Listen to Podcast

Initial Survey Results from Maine Loggers’ Health and Safety Study

Presentation from American Public Health Association (2019)

Download Presentation

Assessing Overall Health and Improving Injury Surveillance of Maine Logging Workers

Presentation from Council of Forest Engineering Conference (2018)

Download Presentation

Total Worker Health for Loggers

Video from International Society of Agricultural Safety and Health (2020)

Watch Video