Fri, 02/01/2002
Technical Release

Surveys/Studies: safety

INTRODUCTION: The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) each year, tracking work-related fatalities in all 50 states. The Forest Resources Association was granted permission to access the CFOI database for the years 1992-1999 to analyze the major causes of logging-related fatalities.

GENERAL FEATURES: The CFOI database includes information on each victim's age, race and gender; nature of the injury (that is, part of body affected, source of injury, and event); employee status (that is, occupation, work activity, and duration of employment); and the date, time, and location of the incident that resulted in the fatal injury, as well as a description of the injury. In order to protect the victim's identity, the database does not identify fatal injuries by state-a proviso that prevents a geographical analysis of fatality trends that might assist in prioritizing state or regional safety initiatives.

Fig. 1: Logging fatalities by year, 1992-1999.

FRA sorted the CFOI database on the basis of two Occupation codes, 494 (logging supervisors) and 496 (timber cutting and logging workers), to identify loggers suffering fatal occupational injuries from 1992 to 1999. The number of reported fatalities for loggers dropped from a high of 146 in 1992 to a low of 107 in 1998, then increased slightly to 112 in 1999. The average number of fatalities per year during this eight-year period was 124.

Fig. 2: General categories of logging deaths, 1992-1999


Of the 991 total logging-related fatalities included in the CFOI database, 67 resulted from contact with falling objects, such as trees, limbs, tops and logs. These incidents include:

  • tree striking the logger felling it or striking another worker;
  • parts of the tree striking workers during felling, limbing or topping; and
  • logs striking workers during loading, unloading, or skidding operations. 

Fig. 3: Logger fatalities by time of day.