Safety and health in forest harvesting operations. Diagnosis and preventive actions. A review.

P. Albizu-Urionabarrenetxea, E. Tolosana-Esteban, E. Roman-Jordan


Aim of study: to review the present state of the art in relation to the main labour risks and the most relevant results of recent studies evaluating the safety and health conditions of the forest harvesting work and better ways to reduce accidents.

Area of study: It focuses mainly on developed Countries, where the general concern about work risks prevention, together with the complex idiosyncrasy of forest work in forest harvesting operations, has led to a growing interest from the forest scientific and technical community.

Material and Methods: The main bibliographic and Internet references have been identified using common reference analysis tools. Their conclusions and recommendations have been comprehensively summarized.

Main results: Collection of the principal references and their most important conclusions relating to the main accident risk factors, their causes and consequences, the means used towards their prevention, both instrumental as well as in the aspects of training and business management, besides the influence of the growing mechanization of logging operations on those risks.

Research highlights: Accident risk is higher in forest harvesting than in most other work sectors, and the main risk factors such as experience, age, seasonality, training, protective equipment, mechanization degree, etc. have been identified and studied.   

The paper summarizes some relevant results, one of the principal being that the proper entrepreneurial risk management is a key factor leading to the success in minimizing labour risks.

Key words: labour risk; forestry; accident rates; preventive measures; entrepreneurial risk management.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013223-02714