TUMWATER - The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has honored a Longview logging company with a "Commitment to Excellence" award for its outstanding workplace safety program. Don Fudge Contract Cutting Inc. is the first logging company in the state to receive the award.
Logging is historically one of Washington's most hazardous industries, and "timber faller" is the highest-risk occupation in the U.S., higher even than crab fishing.
The award recognizes the company for having had a full year without any work-related injury or illness that caused an employee to miss days of work or to need job restrictions (light duty) or a job transfer. The company has a lower-than-average workers' compensation claims history in comparison to others in the same industry.
The award also takes into consideration that much of the company's work in 2008 was done in extremely difficult and hazardous conditions in "blow-down" areas near Raymond, South Bend and Pe Ell, after a severe windstorm in December 2007 devastated the forested areas along the coast.
The company was nominated by L&I safety consultant Steve Poppe, who had provided consultation services to the company over a period of time and observed that they were "always on top of safety, no matter the circumstances."
"Many in the logging industry, especially younger workers, believe that injuries are inevitable if you are hand-falling timber or setting chokers," Poppe said. "This award recognizes that there is much an employer can do to reduce hazards and keep workers safe, even in the most hazardous industry."
L&I offers free workplace consultations, in addition to free workshops, videos, and online training to help employers meet safety and health requirements and promote safety in their workplaces. Learn more at SafetyConsultants.Lni.wa.gov.