- Safety and Health Topics
Working in a sawmill is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. The equipment poses numerous hazards. Massive weights and falling, rolling, and/or sliding logs can be very dangerous. The woodworking operations of a sawmill can also be hazardous, particularly when machines are used improperly or without proper safeguards. Woodworking employees often suffer from the following injuries: lacerations, amputations, severed fingers, and blindness. Wood dust, and chemicals used for finishing products, may cause skin and respiratory diseases. Sawmill hazards are even more dangerous when environmental conditions are factored in, such as uneven, unstable, or rough terrain; inclement weather; or isolated work sites where health care facilities are not immediately accessible.
Sawmill hazards are addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry.
Hazards and Solutions
Provides video clips and images from OSHA inspections that display some of the machinery and related hazards associated with sawmill operations (Windows Media Player or an equivalent is necessary to view video clips).
Provides links and references to additional resources related to sawmills.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-Site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-Site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
- Wood Products: Sawmills. OSHA eTools. Provides information on topics such as lumber storage, log handling, and plant-wide hazards.