Human Factors Affecting Logging Injury Incidents in Idaho and the Potential for Real-Time Location-Sharing Technology to Improve Safety

Safety (Basel). 2018 Oct;4(4):43. doi: 10.3390/safety4040043.


Human factors, including inadequate situational awareness, can contribute to fatal and near-fatal traumatic injuries in logging, which is among the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Real-time location-sharing technology may help improve situational awareness for loggers. We surveyed and interviewed professional logging contractors in Idaho to (1) characterize current perceptions of in-woods hazards and the human factors that lead to injuries; (2) understand their perspectives on using technology-based location-sharing solutions to improve safety in remote work environments; and (3) identify logging hazard scenarios that could be mitigated using location-sharing technology. We found production pressure, fatigue, and inexperience among the most-common factors contributing to logging injuries from the perspective of participants. Potential limitations of location-sharing technology identified included potential for distraction and cost. Contractors identified several situations where the technology may help improve safety, including (1) alerting workers of potential hand-faller injuries due to lack of movement; (2) helping rigging crews to maintain safe distances from yarded trees and logs during cable logging; and (3) providing a means for equipment operators to see approaching ground workers, especially in low-visibility situations.

Keywords: Global Navigation Satellite System-Radio Frequency (GNSS-RF); cable logging; forestry workers; internet of things; interviews; location-based services; logging safety; mixed methods; situational awareness; survey.