14TH Annual AOLStatewide Logging Safety Conference

Riverhouse Hotel
& Convention Center
Bend, Oregon

By Mike Crouse

The largest crowd ever, over 200 loggers, were in attendance for the Associated Oregon Logger’s 14th Annual Statewide Logging Safety Conference held again this year at the Convention Center adjacent to the Bend Riverhouse Hotel.

The meeting started at 8 a.m. sharp with a very full agenda, led off by AOL’s Executive VP, Jim Geisinger, presenting a political update on both federal and state rules and legislation effecting the logging community. One comment Geisinger made that’s particularly relevant is the value of bringing legislators onto the ground with live logging operations to witness “real world logging.” The visual and real life realities of how this business works leaves a powerful positive impression.

The first program, “How to build a Kick-A•• Crew” was presented by Wendy Farrand. Addressing leadership, engaging the crew, keeping them involved in the operations, and figuring out how to ­­help each member continue to grow and learn. “An engaged employee is a SAFER employee.”

Through the presentation she referenced a book, “12...The Elements of Great Managing,” by Rod Wagner, which outlined much of what she was presenting.

Better communication, not surprisingly, is the key, and a consistent part of effective leadership is to consistently lead by speaking clearly and maintaining the line of communication in both directions from crew to company ownership and ownership to crew.

Poor communication encourages a higher risk environment. “Anger and drama on the job only leads to danger.” Being clear and encouraging involvement encourages a safer workplace.

“Great leaders ask questions, engaging their employee, bringing them in. People will support a world they helped to build,” Farrand said. “People need to know the Big Picture... (where) the more they know the more engaged they are.”

“The win-win situation is where you have all the employees supporting your decision because they had the chance to give you their opinion, their input.”

“If there’s one thing you take away from this today,” Farrand emphasized, “it’s to ASK WHY on the job.”

The second presentation was from Kevin Phau, SAIF senior loss consultant outlining the SIM-plicity(tm) program developed in the oil fields and adopted to reduce some of the most common and costly injuries. Phau explained, “35% of all SAIF’s claims are from strains and sprains, (which accounts for) $90 million dollars each year (in claims). The SIM anachronism stands for “Safety In Motion” and sets a common language, “... green, red, and yellow zones,” which in your position and technique of common motions brings awareness to a safer way to approach everyday tasks and avoid injuries.

The presentation had the vast majority of the audience involved in the drills and brought the advantage from simple changes in technique make for a safer workplace and a healthier employee.

Find out more on the SIM-plicity(tm) program, go to (http://safetyinmotion.com) and the SAIF site (www.saif.com), then to the section marked employee, then safety, then ergonomics. There are sections, both written and video that are available to walk through the program that’s a proven winner for employers, employees, and reduced on the job injuries.

A buffet lunch split the morning and afternoon session, in addition to several breaks between sessions with door prizes, and time to visit various vendors at the conference.

The afternoon session led off with Steve Narolski, program manager for the Bonneville Power Administration, talking about working and logging around power lines. First order of business, be careful and mindful if there are power lines near your logging site.

Some safety tips when logging near power lines:

  • Safety tips when logging near power lines
  • Look at logging plan
  • Identify targets...energized power lines
  • Request an onsite visit by BPA transmission line maintenance personnel to ascertain hazards
  • Secure power line clearance and/or hold orders as needed
  • Don’t leave logging fringe against power line corridors
  • Do not harvset timber during wind or storm events
  • Do not fuel equipment within ROW
  • Avoid decking logs or hauling in ROW unless approved by BPA TLM staff
  • And perhaps most important: IF YOU DROP A LIMB on a power line, leave it there!!

AOL Loss Control Specialist Alex Hanson reviewed several accidents in the past year, in particular struck-by accidents. “Witihout enough lift, if the logs hit something they swing around. The guys have to get back out of the way,” said Hanson. “Tree length logging isn’t going away. It’s a hazard you have to deal with.”

Mike Weaver reviewed the GHS (Globally Harmonized System) for identifying, storing and safe handling of hazardous substances, and the time line quickly approaching to comply with changing requirements, which includes training for employees. This is a nationwide program, and all companies need to be in compliance, the only hook being a simple one: take the time and get it taken care of.

The final two sessions were on cool tools and a second session with the morning’s speaker Farrand on Git-R-Done, on creating and sharing your company mission.

The session promptly closed on schedule, well run, well attended and giving everyone something to take back to their crews in pursuit of a safer workplace.­