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Author Topic: Safety on Logging Jobs  (Read 2380 times)

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Online Gary_C

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Safety on Logging Jobs
« on: April 23, 2011, 01:42:58 PM »
Most of the logging jobs I buy are DNR jobs on state lands. And the state requires that I have liability insurance for my logging operations, and I do have it. And I just read this liability clause that appears on every state contract.

The permit holder agrees to assume entire responsibility and liability for all damages and injury to all persons and property including state personnel and property whether caused by the permit holder, the permit holder's officers, agents, or employees, arising from activities undertaken based on this permit or the permit holder's use or occupancy of the premises covered by this permit. The permit holder additionally agrees to indeminify and save and hold the State, it's officers, agents, and employees, harmless from all claims or causes of action arising there from.

And every year, I have to reapply for my liability insurance and my insurance application always demands to know if I keep the public a safe distance away from my landings and logging operations.

Problem is the state will not allow me to do that. The state forests are open to the public and they are not willing to close even my landing areas for public use.

So how do other states handle this safety problem? Are logging sites closed to the public during logging operations?

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 02:19:38 PM »
You should have the right to establish a perimeter and keep the the public at a safe distance. The majority of logging here is on Crown land, the logging companies are very strict about keeping gawkers out.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Bobus2003

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 03:37:13 PM »
Are they Closed.. No not really. They are posted very well with signs and boundary limits.. There are a rules about what can be done and what cant be done in an active Timber sale, but its more of you can still be their just gotta becareful and if the contractor wants you off the sale you have to listen to him

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 04:13:27 PM »
If the State employees are on salary and WC is mandatory in the state your working than that part about you having to cover them is an occupational liability not yours, which WC covers. Your liability is to passers by not involved. I can bet you that your insurance lawyers will drive that home if a DNR staff is hurt regardless of that contract. Law over rides contract I believe.

Here in NB WC covers employees and they can not sue landowners or others if hurt.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline Ianab

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 04:40:09 PM »
It's not unusual for different govt departments to have different, and conflicting, rules.

For example at Lils work (Kindergarten) the Education dept says that the front gates MUST have latches that the kids can't reach, but the Building Inspectors say that the public building MUST be accessable to someone in a wheel chair.

If they take off the high gate latch, they can't get their permit from the Education Dept to open. If they leave it there the local building authority wont sign off their building and allow it to open. Make up your mind....

Seems similar on the logging site. DNR can't legally close public land to the public, but OSHA says you need to protect the public from workplace danger  ::)

All you can do is "all practical measures" to keep the public safe. You put up signs saying "Danger, Logging, Keep Clear". They are not legally enforceable, but 99% of people have the common sense to obey them. If you get an idiot, the you just have to stop work until you can persuade them to move along.

The signs and tapes you put up are not legally binding, they are just like a sign that says "Bridge Out". You are free to keep driving, but it's not a good idea.

Not sure how OSHA rules are enforced in your part of the world, but here is says "all practical steps". Warning signs and tapes are practical, razor wire and armed guards are not. Same for the Insurance Co. Tell them you put up warning signs and tapes to keep people clear, and stay alert for people wandering into the area.

Ian
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Offline bill m

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2011, 07:08:36 PM »
I would think that you as a contractor has control over who goes onto the property you are working. No different than a general contractor doing renovations or building a new building. He has complete control over who goes onto that site. The owners cannot even go on there without his permission. What do you think your insurance co. would say if they knew people could come and go as they please?
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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 07:26:31 PM »
We warn people the best we can to stay out of the logging areas. We place signs on the roads and verbally tell of the dangers of being near the loggers, the landings, and their equipment. The worst offenders are the landowner's themselves and their neighbors, and the snowmobilers who run the haul roads and want to see what's going on. It's sometimes hard to keep the landowner off his own property though. ;) We have nicely made some leave though when they were becoming too much of a risk and hazard.

We shut all the jobs down during the rifle deer season as this is a problem time.
~Ron

Offline Bobus2003

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 07:34:10 PM »
We warn people the best we can to stay out of the logging areas. We place signs on the roads and verbally tell of the dangers of being near the loggers, the landings, and their equipment. The worst offenders are the landowner's themselves and their neighbors, and the snowmobilers who run the haul roads and want to see what's going on. It's sometimes hard to keep the landowner off his own property though. ;) We have nicely made some leave though when they were becoming too much of a risk and hazard.

We shut all the jobs down during the rifle deer season as this is a problem time.


Here your not supposed to hunt Active Timber sales here, Or so i've been told by the GF&P.. You still see guys doing it, but they can be turned in

Offline Ianab

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2011, 07:36:18 PM »
That's the problem. You as the contractor doing the work are "Responsible" for the safety of people on the site.

That's different from having a legal right to prevent access.

Quote
The owners cannot even go on there without his permission.

Actually that's not true, they don't legally have the right to ban the owner, unless they gave it away in the fine print of the contract. Of course if you did come on the site and made a nuisance of yourself then they would need to stop work for safety reasons, and it would probably result in a shouting match and the contractor quitting.

You can put up all the signs you like, but they may not have any actual legal standing. You put them up anyway as most people will obey them, either from common sense, or assuming they have some legal standing, but all it is a warning sign, "keep out, for your own safety" not "keep out, or we will have you arrested"

Ian
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Offline bill m

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2011, 08:17:54 PM »
Here, in Massachusetts in the fine print of the contracts it gives the contractor the right to refuse entry to anyone they do not want on the job site.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2011, 03:58:12 AM »
On crown land your not suppose to be near a logging operation for 2 km when hunting and I imagine it's the same on private land as well. You can call the local forest ranger office for clarification or to have them come out. Another scenario about logging and safety is when there is silviculture work going on beyond the logging setup. We had started a 150 acre thinning job before a logging job started. All they had to do was wait a week and we would have finished up, but they moved in on our access road and tore the road all up for about 5 days and left. We had to drive by a chipper and 2 grapples feeding it every day. If I had seen the foreman, France, I was prepared to give him all H%^&.  :-X >:( Then to be followed up with a call to the the regional ranger office.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline northwoods1

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2011, 08:26:13 AM »


Problem is the state will not allow me to do that. The state forests are open to the public and they are not willing to close even my landing areas for public use.


Hi Gary, I was wondering if you have a particular experience you could relate where "the public" was on your landings or in the woods as you were harvesting as job that would in some way put them in danger? In all my years of working county, state, tribal and federal land I can't think of a single case in which "the public" was coming anywhere near close enough to active logging operations to put them in harms way. They seem to be smart enough to know they should keep a safe distance away. Now on the other hand we have had people monkeying around the jobs when no one is around, mostly on the high tourist weekends like 4th of July and labor day etc., and even vandalizing equipment in some way, but that is not what your talking about is it? If Someone is intentionally messing with your equipment or operation then you have legal recourse against that.
If you have not had a specific problem don't spend so much time worrying, just look at what all the other operators in your area are doing, Can you point to a single case in which what you are describing has caused someone problems?

Online Gary_C

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2011, 09:29:08 AM »
Northwoods1, you have led a very sheltered logging life if you haven't had problems with the public getting in the way on logging jobs. Many years ago I was hand felling a pine stand from front to back and skidding the trees away to be limbed. I was cutting a 70 foot red pine and just before making the final felling cut, I looked up at the intended path and there were two ladies standing there watching me about 25 feet away from me. One of the two ladies (bird watchers) waved her hand and said "hi, we were just seeing what you were doing." Very briefly I thought of making the final cut and giving them a demonstration but quickly nixed that idea. We had a chat after I got them out from under the path of that almost cut tree and then they moved on to a safer place.

On the job that I am working on right now, there is a four wheeler trail that is supposed to be closed right now and I have posted DNR provided signs at both ends of the job and put flagging across the trail. And some weeks ago I was working just alongside of the trail and a parade of six four wheelers came down the trail, not once but twice. Here is the sign and flagging they actually just went around in the brush.

 



I confronted them on the second pass and the leader said "yes, they had seen the signs and flagging but they did not know any other way to go thru there." I did call the conservation officer and he found out those guys had called the DNR office and they had told them all the trails were open.  ::)

And also the landing that I have to use which is an old borrow pit and unofficial firing range is a serious and dangerous problem. Most of the users of the landing and parking area will move on when they see work going on there, but some will assert their believed rights to shoot away even when I am working there. Notice one target set up there and that is an old TV set along side that has been blown to bits and left there. The ground is littered with empty shotgun shells, plastic bottles, and yes, glass! I know of at least four TV sets strewn around there. And the DNR will not close that area off, even while I am there.

 



And the next job in SE MN has another four wheeler trail the DNR wanted to remain open and I could work only during the week. But before I took the job I got them to agree to close the trail as the weekend traffic would last four days leaving me only three days to work.

So don't assume your sheltered life is the norm.   ::)
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline Norm

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2011, 09:39:51 AM »
Hey let's be careful naming names here!  :D

Sounds like your DNR is about as responsible as ours. They're too busy making sure nobody leaks manure to do their job.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2011, 07:04:40 PM »
Closing forest wheeler trails wouldn't be enforceable around here. Too many miles of trails and not enough forest rangers to even begin to make it serious. Not only that, they are all over the forest roads every day like it's just another trail. If they were to close the trails, they would have to close the woods because of fire danger. That is the only way it would get serious.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Safety on Logging Jobs
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2011, 07:06:02 PM »
Most of our problems are with the snowmobilers and the 4 wheelers getting in the way and where they shouldn't be.

A few winters back I was entering a timber harvest area on the seasonal access road when two snowmobiles came fast around a corner. I hit the ditch with my pick up and the snowmobile in the lead started braking for all he could. His eyes got as big as saucers under his helmet as he bounced off my left rear tire and rolled over into the woods. His buddy behind him also hit the woods dogging trees.

Luckily no one was seriously hurt, though the first snowmobile needed a tow job out to the main road. My left rear tire was ok with a only its hub cap knocked off.

I read then the riot act and was on my way. I never saw this pair in the area again, but I always think about this corner on the seasonal road when I'm on it.
~Ron


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