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Logging: The country's most dangerous profession

Logging is, statistically, the most dangerous career in the country -- nearly every part of the job exposes workers to the possibility of a deadly accident. In fact, those in the logging industry are 30 times more likely to die in a work-related accident than the average American employee.

Stricter safety regulations have helped reduce the number of yearly fatalities over the last two decades, but loggers still face significant dangers.

-- Falling trees account for the majority of deaths, especially when there are broken limbs or tree tops hidden by live branches. These can suddenly fall, crushing a logger underneath.

-- Protective helmets and earplugs sometimes obscure vision and hearing to the point that loggers can't hear or see someone else trying to warn them of a sudden danger.

-- Equipment used in the trade can be unpredictable. A little more than 15 percent of fatalities are the result of accidents with machinery.

-- Violent storms can actually twist trees to the point where special sawing techniques are required to release some of the tension before the trees can be felled safely.

-- Injuries from hand tools, like saws and axes, are very common. Loggers can lose a hand or foot very easily if someone loses their grip on a chainsaw.

In addition to these risks, isolated working sites make it difficult for injured loggers to get medical help quickly -- they may be miles from the nearest medical facility. If the injury is complicated, a rural medical facility may not even have the capacity to deal with the injury. If a rural facility delays sending an injured logger to a more sophisticated hospital for treatment, that delay could lead to an unnecessary death.

Industry experts also say that there's a roughneck mentality or culture in logging that sometimes makes it hard to implement new safety procedures. Workers sometimes aren't properly trained on new procedures and new employees may be expected to learn as they go -- which isn't safe in that environment.

If you lost a loved one in a logging incident and you believe that the death could have been prevented with better training or more immediate care, consider talking to an attorney about the possibility of a wrongful death claim.

Source: Priceonomics.com, "Lumberjack: America's Deadliest Profession," accessed May 25, 2017

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