The Mechanization of Logging Operations in Sweden and its Effect on Occupational Safety and Health


  • Sven-Åke Axelsson Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden


In this study the effect on occupational safety and health of increasing mechanization and improved ergonomics in Swedish forestry has been analyzed by using data on accidents and health hazards for chainsaw operators and logging-machine operators. In 1990 the accident frequency rate was 63 and 17 respectively, indicating a risk reduction of 73% by mechanization compared to chainsaw-based methods. There have also been significant improvements within each group. Between 1970 and 1990 the frequency rate for chainsaw operators was reduced by 48%, and for logging-machine operators by 70%, the result of improved ergonomics and safety organization. Health hazards have also been reduced, notably vibration-induced white fingers (VIWF) among chainsaw operators. The increasing number of machine contractors form a potential risk group. Some 50% of logging-machine operators have symptoms of repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Large-scale prevention programs have been initiated, with the emphasis on development of new work organization.






Technical Papers