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Update:June 10, 2020

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Caution is needed to prevent labor accidents, even when using high-performance forest machines

Article title

Frequency of labor accidents caused by forestry machine

Author (affiliation)

Yuta Inomata (a), Hirokazu Yamaguchi (a), Kengo Usui (a)

(a) Department of Forest Engineering, FFPRI, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Publication Journal

J. Jpn. For. Eng. Soc. 34(3), July 2019 DOI:10.18945/jjfes.34.123( External link )

Content introduction

In the Japanese forestry industry, many labor accidents occur with work involving hand-held chainsaws. While an increasing number of high-performance forest machines have come into use in recent years, little has been known about the frequency of labor accidents associated with them. In mechanized forestry, feller bunchers, harvesters, etc., are used for felling trees, and in areas where forest roads can be built, vehicles such as skidders and forwarders are used for collecting logs. On steep slopes, felled trees are collected with machines that use wires, such as tower yarders and swing yarders, and the trees are turned into logs (timber) using processors. An analysis was made of the frequency of occurrence of labor accidents associated with such work, then comparisons were made with the average frequency of labor accidents in Japan over a 9-year period. As a result, it was found that some machines had a frequency of accident occurrence that was 1.3 to 3.2 times higher than that of machines with a low frequency of accidents. When the results are examined in detail, it can be seen that the occurrence of labor accidents with felling and bucking machines is low, while it is high with yarding machines, especially with those that use wires. In the present study, the following methods were selected based on the labor accident frequency of each type of high-performance forestry machine: felled trees were pulled with tower yarders, turned into logs with processors, and loaded onto forwarders with grapples for transport. For this series of operations, estimates for the frequency of labor accidents were made using a ratio of one accident per roughly 50 series in one year. It can be concluded from the results that the existence of forestry machines that have a relatively high frequency of labor accident occurrence indicates a need for further safety measures for mechanized forestry.


Figure  Frequency of the occurrence of labor accidents

Figure Frequency of the occurrence of labor accidents with high-performance forestry machines.(The dotted line in the figure is the average value for 9 years for all production in Japan.)