Wiesława Ł Nowacka, Tadeusz Moskalik


Forestry was and still is regarded as a very difficult and risky occupation with constant exposure to a variety of factors that pose a threat to a worker's health and even life.
Over the past two decades in the State Forests National Forest Holding (SFNFH) important organizational and structural changes have occurred. The main effect of these activities for the company itself was restructuring and a reduction of employment. As a result of all the actions that were initiated in the early nineties and were completed in practice at the end of the twentieth century, a transfer of most of the production onto the shoulders of private companies took place (Forestry Service Companies). In the first instance, full privatization covered timber harvesting and logging operations. This means the work that has been, and continues to be, responsible for most accidents and occupational diseases recorded in the forestry sector.
The State Forests still have the capability to execute some harvesting activities, but that potential is very small. Machines, tractors, skidders or loggers are still owned by the SF NFH, but are rarely used. Exposure to hazards at work applies to all employees in forestry, irrespective of the type and nature of the business they conduct.
According to data from the Central Statistical Office (2011) 47,836 workers are employed in the forestry sector. In the group of private companies (representing half the employees in the forestry sector) at least several thousand chain saw operators are involved, the group of workers which is most at risk of accidents. The accidents reported to the Central Statistical Office in the private sector (2011-155 reported accidents at work) are less than half the number of accidents recorded in the SFNFH (2011-344 reported accidents at work). Our own research on accidents occurring in Forestry Service Companies (contractors), indicate that recording and reporting accidents with less risk to health is missing (lower absenteeism). An analysis of data obtained from the SFNFH was carried out. This made it possible to determine the number, percentage and frequency of accidents at work in relation to the kind of work, professional activities or selected part of the body most often affected by injury.
Detailed data of logging accidents in the chosen period are presented in this paper. These accidents constitute one-third or even half of all accidents occurring in the SFNFH.


forestry, timber harvesting, safety of work, accidents rates, severity of accidents

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Forestry Letters  eISSN 2450-4920

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