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Logging

Classification 5001-03

Why your rates have gone up

The bottom line

The most common injuries in traditional logging (risk classification 5001‑03) occur when workers are struck by an object, fall, or suffer a musculoskeletal injury through overexertion or lifting (according to L&I's workers' compensation claims data).

In addition to medical payments, these injuries often result in missed work days, lost wages, and even permanent disability. These injuries drive up claim costs and increase premiums.

The serious nature of most logging injuries is one of the reasons why workers' compensation rates for this classification increased 14% in 2009.

In Washington State, employers with similar operations and exposures are grouped together in the same workers' compensation risk classification. They pay premiums based on the degree of hazard their workers are exposed to.

At the request of many employers in the logging industry, L&I over the past several years moved the less hazardous phases of logging into a separate risk classification. Premiums for some employers (mechanized logging machine operation) have gone down. Your premiums have increased, in part, because the most hazardous work is concentrated in risk classification 5001‑03.

Preventing injuries protects your employees and reduces future premiums. Read this Rates Watch for information on safety steps and resources.

For more information see:

About logging

Membership

Risk Classification 5001-03 represents 558 companies in traditional logging. These companies currently report hours that equal about 663 full-time employees.

Premium rates

On January 1, 2009, the base premium rate went from $9.49 per hour per employee to $10.80. Within this risk classification, employers' rates range from $6.51 to $26.94 per hour, depending on their claim history. On average, employees pay about 16% of the total premium in this risk classification.

The Annual Premiums per Employee in the Logging Industry graph shows the highest and lowest premiums per employee currently being paid, along with the base rate.

Injuries drive up rates

Data show that most severe injuries occur to younger and less experienced workers. L&I also sees an increasing proportion of severe injuries involving older workers. A good safety program must meet the training and orientation needs of the new hire, while keeping safety fresh and relevant for experienced employees.

See the Distribution of Compensable Claims in the Logging Industry.

Increase safety to keep workers safe, control premium costs

Safety standards for logging operations (WAC 296‑54 (www.leg.wa.gov)) identify minimum safety requirements. Most injuries can be prevented by following these requirements and by building a good training program that emphasizes:

  • Best safety practices.
  • The importance of each worker being aware of their surroundings and working conditions.

Safety requirements

L&I logging safety specialists can help you establish and strengthen your safety programs.

  • Each new hire must have a safety orientation including job-specific training.
  • Employers must have a site-specific medical emergency plan.
  • Safety meetings must be held monthly and at the beginning of each new job site.
  • Fallers must work within visual or audible contact of other workers.
  • Workers must be wearing/using the required safety equipment.
  • "Danger trees" within reach of work areas must be removed as soon as possible.
  • Fallers must use their escape path and get behind cover (if possible) when a tree falls.

Best practices

  • Pair each new hire with an experienced worker.
  • Size up the lay of a tree before limbing and bucking.
  • Learn from a "near miss" to understand what happened and how to avoid it again.
  • Communicate clearly with workers – don't assume they know what you're thinking.

Contact us for help

Safety questions

Call Tom Ford, L&I's Logging Safety Specialist, at:
360-902-5428.

Claim management questions

Call Rich Walker, L&I's Logging Account Manager, who can connect you with resources:
360-902-4823.

Rate questions

Call Rich Walker, L&I Logging Account Manager, at:
360-902-4823.

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