CARERC Pilot: Study for Survey and Education of Safe Hauling of Timber on Public Roads through Kentucky Master Logger Program

Grants and Contracts Details


Abstract Kentucky''s forest and wood industry is a 13 billion dollar economic sector providing 59,300 jobs. Kentucky is the leading producer of hardwood sawlogs, with annual harvests of over 700 million board feet and 1.2 million tons of pulp wood. Timber harvesting activities are conducted throughout the state, mainly by local ground-based equipment contractors. Timber harvesting makes up two and a half percent (222 million dollars) of Kentucky''s forest sector''s direct economic contribution. Logging is the first step in the supply chain, and the entire industry collapses without it. In the United States of America, logging is the most dangerous job, with a fatality rate of 135.9 for every 100,000 individuals, with transportation incidents often occurring, which also combines with trucking, which is the 7th most dangerous job. According to the latest statistics from the federal Department of Transportation, there were 1,324 incidents involving log trucks on highways between 2020 and 2023. Of those incidents, 278 resulted in fatalities, 789 resulted in injuries, and the remaining 257 were considered property damage only. Statistics within the last ten years (2012 - 2022) show an average of 51 fatalities and 608 injuries annually. These incidents most often occur from illegal weight and loads, traveling at rates of speeds above set speed limits, lack of inspections, and improper maintenance of log truck vehicles (brakes, windshield wipers, tires, etc....). Commonly, most traffic violations and casualties (direct and indirect) from log trucks are due to improper loading regarding excessive weight (< 88,000) and log distribution, including improper tie-downs. Collecting and analyzing data from timber harvesters improperly and adequately hauling loads of timber on public roads is necessary. This data can then be used to develop an educational program to inform timber harvesters/truckers of the economic and safety risks of improper timber hauling. In this pilot study, we propose to use the Kentucky Master Logger (KML) Program to collect data on timber harvesters/truckers who are directly hauling wood to and from logging sites to assess if they are aware of and are compliant with laws regarding weight and load distributions. Furthermore, we would also like to develop an educational module with the KML program that explains the economic (and ethical benefits) of compliance with state and federal laws on hauling timber. This pilot program will include an anonymous survey of loggers/truckers through KML to assess their hauling practices, determine typical road violations and assess their knowledge of loading and hauling best practices and regulations. In addition to collecting data, our overarching goal is to use this data to develop programs within KML to educate loggers on the economic loss and safety concerns associated with improper timber hauling via log trucks. This proposed application offers the potential to reduce citations, increase logger and civilian safety on highways, and provide potential life-saving education by showing them the economic benefits of proper timber hauling. For demonstration purposes, we plan to implement this pilot study within Kentucky but designed to be applicable and expandable regionally or potentially nationwide through other states’ designated Master Loggers Programs.
Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/24


  • National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


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