We are all experiencing a time when safety is at the forefront of our minds. The importance of taking steps to be safe has brought a heightened sense of awareness of our surroundings and activities.
It seems only fitting that this week marks the beginning of June as National Safety Month. FRA is committed to serving the forest products supply chain by promoting safety awareness, and we will be highlighting this throughout the month.
To kick it off, I want to bring to your attention the COVID-19 Safety Awareness link on FRA’s website. It has a collection of best practices implemented by forestry businesses to address the challenges of today’s operations during a pandemic. We want to continue to collect information on what is working, and what is not working. Please contact your region representative or me to share insights and experiences. Specific information on forestry businesses is valuable, as well as the necessary guidelines (such as the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COIVD-19) to keep our industry and its employees healthy and strong.
Another critical safety issue that deserves our attention is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report that recently released its findings for 2018. The results show that based on the number of fatal accidents in 2018 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the logging occupation was the most dangerous job in America. Two recent blogs go into more detail on this issue: “Safety is a Core Value of the Forest Products Industry” and “If You’re First, You’re Last.”
We want to ask the right questions to develop solutions that will continue to lower the risk of logging injuries. At the recent Virtual FRA Annual Meeting, a new safety task force was put together through a partnership of our National Operations Committee and the Timber Harvesting and Transportation Safety (THATS) Foundation. This task force will focus on how the forest products industry can reduce serious injuries or fatalities. The group will work on identifying unsafe behaviors and effectively communicating them through training and other means. Look for more from this effort in the coming year.
Finally, FRA provides a variety of information that can improve safety awareness and help show continuous improvement throughout the entire wood supply chain. Please visit www.forestresources.org and go to the Resources tab and Safety subtab to view the FRA Safety Alerts. These alerts identify safety practices that will make a beneficial difference in your operations when followed.
Throughout the month, FRA will continue to share relevant safety information through email and our social media platforms. If you are not already, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to ensure you get this information. Please also be on the lookout for our Technical Release and Safety Alert email later in the month as another worthwhile safety resource.Ultimately, I hope we will all keep safety as a year-round priority, and FRA will continue to make every effort to advance safety as a core value of the forest products industry.