Volume 01, Number 2

Fall 2001

A decade of LogSafe
In the late 1980s, the high cost of workers’ compensation put enormous pressure on Minnesota’s struggling logging industry. The Minnesota Timber Producers Association (TPA) and other industry trade groups sought relief from . the State Legislature. In May 1990, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill aimed at reducing loggers’ high workers’ compensation costs. At the time the legislation was passed, the Assigned Risk Plan rate for loggers was $49.35 per $100 of payroll. The1990 legislation provided the immediate relief needed to lower workers’ compensation costs for those employers that purchased coverage. Longerrange relief was sought through a mandatory safety program for loggers. Additionally, studies were commissioned to explore ways to bring more loggers into compliance with workers’compensation coverage, thus increasing the pool of risk and lowering the average rate. based on the amount of workers’ compensation payroll they report. In order to emphasize the importance of safety in lowering workers’ compensation costs, employers and their employees are required to attend safety seminars provided by the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) before receiving their insurance rebate. The legislation set aside $125,000 annually from the assessment to fund these safety seminars. Safety seminars are offered throughout the state near where loggers live and work. The seminars are offered in spring and fall. April is normally a time of low logging activity, due to spring thaw, so most loggers attend the seminars then. The fall seminars provide an opportunity to train new hires and those loggers that missed the spring seminars.

In 1991, the DLI commissioner contracted the The rate reduction came from a fee levied on pulp training seminars to Duluth Technical College. An and paper mills and sawmills for each cord of advisory committee of people from the logging wood they purchase from loggers. The funds are industry was set in place to assist the program. used to provide rebates to logging employers, Decade, continued on page 2

Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry
443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155 LogSafe newsletter 1 Fall 2001

A decade of LogSafe, continued ...
Gordy Peterson was the facilitator of the newly named LogSafe Program. He was a logger from Kettle River, Minn, who had also been a board member with TPA. Peterson had a unique blend of talents and the perspective of a logger. He understood the costs, the industry’s hardships and had the business education to understand what the Department of Labor and Industry hoped to develop with the LogSafe Program. However, Peterson died four miles from his home in a one-vehicle traffic accident in 1994. Don Runnberg, from Silver Bay, Minn., took Peterson’s position as LogSafe Program facilitator. He was an instructor at Duluth Technical College and worked in the college’s “Over The Road” truck driving program. Runnberg came to the program with a background as a self-employed logging contractor. He grew up near Finland, Minn., and when he was a young boy, his mother worked as a cook in the logging camps, his father worked as a logger and the family would live at the camps during the winter months. In September 1995, the DLI commissioner transferred the authority to develop and manage the safety seminars to Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC). Upon request, WSC provides employers free, non-enforcement safety and health consultative services to help prevent or reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. Ron Christenson, who was working in DLI’s Duluth workers’ compensation office, took over the LogSafe coordinator position temporarily until a permanent coordinator could be found. He had worked closely with the program since it began in 1990. In April 1997, Runnberg took a six-month leave from the Duluth Technical College to coordinate the LogSafe program. That October, Ed LaFavor became the new LogSafe coordinator and Runnberg returned to his duties at Duluth Technical College. LaFavor was a self-employed logging contractor from the Hibbing, Minn., area. He had served on the LogSafe Advisory Committee and was its chairman since 1996. LogSafe has had partnerships with the Minnesota TPA, Associated Contract Loggers, Minnesota Logger Education Program, Lumberman’s Underwriting Alliance and others during the past 10 years. The program’s training has covered many safety topics, changing each year to keep up with the needs of the logging industry and the trends in injuries. CPR and first-aid training are offered at every seminar so loggers can remained certified, which is a requirement of OSHA’s Logging Standard CFR 1910.266. Since Logsafe began, more than 9,000 loggers have attended its training seminars. Attendance has grown from 527 loggers in 1991, to 1,100 loggers in 2000. There are 23 seminars conducted each year throughout Minnesota.

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Fall 2001

“Since LogSafe began, more than 9,000 loggers have attended its training seminars.”
In 1990, the methods to harvest timber usually involved a chain saw and a cable skidder. This resulted in the logger being exposed to a higher degree of danger. Today’s logger may go for days without using a chain saw to harvest timber. These changes, to a more mechanized means of harvesting timber, have reduced the injuries in the logging industry and LogSafe’s training has kept abreast with these changes. Future industry changes will lead to even more mechanization, but there will always be a chain saw and a “danger tree” somewhere to cut. The operator who cuts that tree, will need to know how to fell that tree safely, to prevent being injured or injuring others.

The view from here
Notes from Ed LaFavor, LogSafe coordinator

Bruce Barker retired from his position at the Minnesota Timber Producers Association after 16 years of dedicated service on April 30, 2001. During his time at TPA, Barker served the Minnesota timber industry well, working on many issues to make our jobs easier, less regulatory and more profitable. He was well respected at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A couple of years ago, while I was working on a project for LogSafe, many people within MNDOT told me the logging industry in Minnesota should be grateful it has had Barker working on its behalf and for all the legislation has has helped to pass for our industry. Barker was very involved with the creation of the LogSafe Program and the workers’ compensation rebate fund. This program was designed to educate loggers to work safer, to maintain a safer workplace and to help reduce the high cost of workers’ compensation premiums. Recently, I was having lunch with a logger who told me that without the benefits of the Logsafe Program, he did not know if he could have survived the logging business. The logger’s reasons for the program’s success were the end-price for his workers’ compensation premiums and fewer claims. There are probably a number of loggers who would agree. One of the many people to thank for this is Bruce Barker.

On behalf of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, I want to to wish Bruce Barker a happy retirement and thank him for LogSafe has proved itself over all he has done for this industry and for his commitment to LogSafe. time. Although it is difficult to put a number on how many injuries have been prevented by this program, a frequent comment heard from loggers is that the training has made them think more about safety and that they now stop themselves before committing a dangerous logging act.

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Fall 2001

More loggers awarded safety grants
The Safety Grants Program is beginning to have more and more loggers take up its offer for matching grant money for safety equipment. The program offers all small businesses in high-hazard industries assistance with the cost of abatement projects that reduce the safety and health risks in the workplace. It matches the employer’s contribution dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000 a project. The grant money comes from late-payment fines levied against Minnesota workers’ compensation insurers. Since 1998, 25 loggers have received assistance in the form of a safety abatement grant from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry – a total of $232,406. Some recent matching grant recipients are: • David Hughes Forest Products, Kelliher, Minn., received a $10,000 grant for a delimber. • Don Korhonen Logging, Swan River, Minn., received a $10,000 grant for a slasher. • JSF Logging, Blackduck, Minn., received a $10,000 grant for a feller buncher. To qualify for a safety grant, employers must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured. The company must also have a qualified person conduct a safety survey of the worksite and identify the hazards. A qualified person could be an OSHA safety or health consultant, an insurance loss-control inspector or a private consultant. The survey must result in specific recommendations, such as providing new equipment, to abate the hazards. Eligible loggers can apply for a grant to help them abate the hazards found during the safety survey, using the recommendations as the basis for their request. They can use the grant to purchase items such as feller bunchers, delimbers, fire extinguishers or personal protective gear.

Number of loggers receiving rebate increases slightly
In 2000, 145 loggers received a rebate; that number is slightly up from other years. The amount collected from assessments in 2000, increased $35,600 from 1999 collections. However, the amount of reported payroll was up about $600,000, which resulted in a slight drop in the amount of rebate per payroll dollar.

Historical comparison: Loggers’ Safety Fund
1991 Mill assessments $786,907 Less: Logger safety programs $125,000 Work comp premium rebates $621,907 1992 $838,160 $125,000 $713,160 1993 $878,236 $125,000 $753,236 1994 $899,070 $125,000 $774,070 $5,368,888 $5,734 $133 $36,763 135 $0.144 1995 $915,151 $125,000 $790,151 $5,538,879 $5,897 $119 $33,395 134 $0.143 1996 $884,340 $125,000 $759,340 $5,767,857 $5,385 $200 $37,273 141 $0.132 1997 $876,628 $125,000 $751,628 $6,462,230 $5,220 $122 $35,633 144 $0.116 1998 $872,753 $125,000 $747,753 $6,923,838 $5,193 $159 $34,641 144 $0.108 1999 $882,150 $125,000 $757,150 $7,472,732 $5,295 $76 $39,385 143 $0.101 2000 $917,750 $125,000 $792,750 $8,072,720 $5,467 $180 $52,408 145 $0.098

Total reported payroll $3,194,618 $4,056,312 $4,829,601 Average rebate $5,654 Smallest rebate $43 Largest rebate Number of claims Rebate per payroll $ $27,283 110 $0.195 $6,148 $263 $31,789 116 $0.176 $5,750 $462 $32,131 131 $0.156

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Fall 2001

Please affix sufficient postage here.

LogSafe Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry P.O. Box 392 Chisholm, MN 55719-0392

2001 Fall LogSafe seminars
October 3 October 10 October 16 October 17 October 18 October 23 October 24 October 25 December 20 Rochester Call for location North Shore Grand Superior Lodge (Castle Danger, 10 miles north of Two Harbors on Hwy. 61) International Falls Bemidji Brainerd Eveleth Grand Rapids Cloquet Chisholm Holiday Inn, Hwy. 71 Northern Inn, Hwy. 2 West Ramada Inn, 2115 S. Sixth St. Eveleth Inn , Hwy. 53 Sawmill Inn, 2301 Pokegama Cloquet Forestry Center, 175 University Road Ironworld Discovery Center

Note: Participants need only to attend one full-day seminar. Each seminar is 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This free one-day event includes all training materials and lunch.

There will be two tracks offered at each LogSafe session:
1. CPR and first-aid certification and recertification — All-day session for first-time training or recertification 2. OSHA logging standard — All-day session about the logging operations standard, how to prevent ergonomic injuries (sprains and strains) and how to work safely while using hydraulic equipment

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Fall 2001

LogSafe registration
Seminar date Location

Company Address City Phone

________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ State ZIP (_____)__________________________________

Name Address City, state, ZIP Phone Name Address City, state, ZIP Phone Name Address City, state, ZIP Phone Name Address City, state, ZIP Phone

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ (____)______________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ (____)______________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ (____)______________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ (____)______________________________
Photocopy form to register additional employees. Please return by mail (see reverse side) or fax to: (651) 284-5739.

This information can be made available in alternative formats by calling the Department of Labor and Industry at 1-800-342-5354 or (651) 297-4198/TTY. If you need an accommodation to enable you to fully participate in this event, please contact Ed LaFavor at 1-888-234-1217 or (651) 297-4198/TTY.

LogSafe newsletter

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Fall 2001

Unsafe felling technique kills Maryland logger
A logger was working alone on level ground in a Northeast Maryland hardwood stand. It was a cool overcast day in the fall. A steady breeze was blowing. The logger had 20 years experience and was considered a safe worker. He had attended his state’s logger training program and was wearing all the required personal protective equipment for tree felling. After cutting a 45-degree notch in an 18-inch maple, the logger began making a backcut, but pinched his chain saw in the cut. The wind conditions may have contributed. After attempting to break the hinge of the tree by winching it with the skidder, the logger tired to pull the saw out of the backcut. It appears that after his unsuccessful attempt to remove the chain saw, he began walking back to the skidder. The hinge for the setback tree broke and struck the logger in the back, pinning him to the ground. The logger died of internal injuries. To ensure consistent application, the logger or the contractor should continually evaluate directional felling techiques. A larger notch (open-faced felling needs a 70- to 90-degree notch) and the placement of wedges might have averted the pinching of the saw bar. Additional circumstances that contributed to the death include: the position of the skidder did not allow for pushing the tree over, the logger failed to keep the hazard tree in view at all times while in the hazard zone and the recommended hinge was compromised by recurrent bypass of notch cuts.

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Fall 2001

Minnesota OSHA Offices
St. Paul 1-877-470-OSHA 443 Lafayette Road N. (651) 284-5050 St Paul, MN 55155 Duluth 5 N. Third Ave. W. Suite 402 Duluth, MN 55802 (218) 723-4678

Mankato (507) 389-6501 410 Jackson St., #520 Mankato, MN 56001 Workplace Safety Consultation 200 Logs/posters Fed publications MN Rules Workers’ Comp Hotline Logsafe Program 1-800-657-3776 (651) 284-5060 (651) 284-5042 (202) 219-4667 (651) 297-3000 1-800-652-9747 1-800-DIAL-DLI (1-800-342-5354) 1-888-234-1217

Safety grant cuts costs
JSF Logging, Blackduck, Minn., received a $10,000 matching grant for a feller buncher from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Address: Logsafe Program Ironworld Discovery Center Hwy. 169/P.O. Box 392 Chisholm, MN 55719-0392

Read LogSafe online at www.doli.state.mn.us/logsafe.html.
LogSafe is a publication of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Its purpose is to help the logging industry establish and maintain safe and healthy work environments. This newsletter can be made available in alternative formats by calling 1-800-DIAL-DLI or (651) 297-4196/TTY.

LogSafe Newsletter

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Fall 2001
Presort standard U.S. Postage PAID Permit 171 St. Paul, MN

Communications Office 443 Lafayette Road N. St. Paul, MN 55155

LogSafe newsletter

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Fall 2001