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Profiles

  • Doy William Nichols (1927 - 1999)
    Doy W. Nichols NEWTON - Doy W. Nichols, 71, of Newton died May 14, 1999, at home from cancer. He was a timberman, and was co-owner and operator of Nichols Timber Inc. He was a Christian and attended ...
  • William Rufus Husk (1871 - 1958)
    Wife: Ida Florence Cornell Husk 1871–1959 Children: Brenton Leon Husk 1900–1975 Clyde Rosswell Husk 1901–1981 William E Husk 1903–1941 Florence O. Husk Inghram 1906–1989 Calvin Husk 1907–190...
  • Archie Dwight Pooler (1890 - 1970)
    Colfax – Funeral services for Archie pooler, 79, formerly of Eau Claire, will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Goodrich Funeral Home here. The Rev. Walter Korsrud will officiate and burial will be in the Ru...
  • Charles Albert Bernard (1870 - 1936)
  • Henry D. Walker (1847 - 1937)
    Name Walker, Henry D. (1847-1937) Born Jan. 6, 1847 Birthplace Lovell, ME Places of Residence Lovell, ME on Shave Hill Road Father William H. Walker Mother Mary R. (Dresser) Walker Notes Intentions of ...

Lumberjacks are workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to a bygone era (before 1945 in the United States) when hand tools were used in harvesting trees. Because of its historical ties, the term lumberjack has become ingrained in popular culture through folklore, mass media and spectator sports. The actual work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and primitive in living conditions, but the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.

Safety & Deaths:

  • Lumberjacks and loggers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States.
    • The constant danger of being around heavy equipment and chainsaws in unsafe areas maximizes the danger.
    • Proper PPE for those in this field consist of eye protection, head protection, ear protection, long sleeves, chaps (if working with a chainsaw), and lastly steel toe boots.
    • When entering this profession, it is emphasized to be on one's toes because individuals are responsible for their own safety to guard against many uncontrollable hazards in the timber. For example, the weather can cause a dangerous situation quicker than one may realize. Additionally, logs and trees often plummet down a mountainside with no regard for what is in its way.
    • In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resources dedicated for logging safety, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified logging as a priority area of safety research under the National Occupational Research Agenda.
    • In 2008, the logging industry employed 86,000 workers, and accounted for 93 deaths. This resulted in a fatality rate of 108.1 deaths per 100,000 workers that year. This rate is over 30 times higher than the overall fatality rate.
      • Forestry/logging-related injuries (fatal and non-fatal) are often difficult to track through formal reporting mechanisms.
    • The logging industry experiences the highest fatality rate of 23.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers and a non-fatal incident rate of 8.5 per 100 FTE workers.
      • The most common type of injuries or illnesses at work include musculoskeletal disorders, which include an extensive list of “inflammatory and degenerative conditions affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments joints, peripheral nerves, and supporting vessels.”
    • The National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) Surveillance System indicates that during the period 1980-89, nearly 6,400 U.S. workers died each year from traumatic injuries suffered in the workplace [NIOSH 1993a]. Over this 10-year period, an estimated 1,492 of these deaths occurred in the logging industry, where the average annual fatality rate is more than 23 times that for all U.S. workers (164 deaths per 100,000 workers compared with 7 per 100,000).
      • Most of these logging deaths occurred in four occupational groups: logging occupations (for example, fellers, limbers, buckers, and choker setters), truck drivers, general laborers, and material machine operators.
      • NTOF data also indicate that 59% of all logging-related deaths occurred when workers were struck by falling or flying objects or were caught in or between objects. Approximately 90% of these fatalities involved trees, logs, snags, or limbs.
    • Logging has consistently been one of the most hazardous industries in the United States (US). In 2010, the logging industry employed 95,000 workers, and accounted for 70 deaths. This results in a fatality rate of 73.7 deaths per 100,000 workers that year.
    • Since the start of the 2000’s, nearly 1,700 logging employees lost their lives on the job. Over 60% have been timber fallers, an increasingly rare occupation as mechanized felling machines supplant men with chainsaws, yet still the highest risk role on a logging operation. Transportation-related fatalities comprised 20%, many of them truck drivers, though a large portion resulted from injuries to other employees by logging vehicles. The details of each fatality certainly matter, yet the sum is staggering for an industry of only 50,000 employees.

Terminology

The term lumberjack is of Canadian derivation. The first attested use of the word comes from an 1831 letter to the Cobourg Star and General Advertiser in the following passage: "my misfortunes have been brought upon me chiefly by an incorrigible, though perhaps useful, race of mortals called lumberjacks, whom, however, I would name the Cossack's of Upper Canada, who, having been reared among the oaks and pines of the wild forest, have never been subjected to the salutary restraint of laws."

The term lumberjack is primarily historical; logger is used by workers in the 21st century. When lumberjack is used, it usually refers to a logger from an earlier time before the advent of chainsaws, feller-bunchers and other modern logging equipment. Other terms for the occupation include woodcutter, shanty boy and the colloquial term woodhick (Pennsylvania, US).

A logger employed in driving logs down a river was known locally in northern North America as a river pig, catty-man, river hog, or river rat. The term lumberjill has been known for a woman who does this work; for example, in Britain during World War II. In Australia, the occupation is referred to as timber cutter or cool cutters.

Resources & Additional reading: