- 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.
Workers have the right to:
- Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
- Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.
For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.
How to Contact OSHA
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.
- Wood Products: Sawmills. OSHA eTools. Provides information on topics such as lumber storage, log handling, and plant-wide hazards.