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Local Senator pushes for logger-safety reforms

April 30th, 2013 - 5:37am

(Olympia) -- In the waning hours of the legislative session, a bill passed aimed at reducing the frequency and severity of injuries to manual loggers. As Ian Cope reports, a local lawmaker pushed for the reforms.

While the logging industry has become primarily mechanized, there is still a small group of loggers who rely on manual methods to fall trees. The increased danger in that field means the workers compensation rates have doubled, rising to the point where the rates are higher than wages. Under Senate Bill 5744, Hoquiam Sen. Jim Hargrove says the state Labor and Industries must reach out to manual logging companies and invite them to participate in the Logger Safety Initiative.

"They have a very dangerous occupation and the safety program that this bill would start to put in place hopefully will both result in a lower L & I rate for those categories of loggers, but also in saving a lot of lives and injuries in this particular very dangerous situation."

The initiatives safety program will include worker training, supervision standards and a certification process for each company. The measure passed the House and Senate unanimously and now moves to the governor for his signature.

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