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  • Wood Products: Sawmills. OSHA eTools. Provides information on topics such as lumber storage, log handling, and plant-wide hazards.
Wood Products: Sawmills

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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 standards for the general industry.


This section highlights OSHA standards and state standards related to sawmills.


Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

Frequently Cited Standards

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 2-6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Sawmills use NAICS code 321113, for Other Millwork (including Flooring) use NAICS code 321918, and for All Other Miscellaneous Wood Product Manufacturing use NAICS code 321999 in the NAICS search box.


Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.



Hazard and Solutions

  • The following video clips and images from OSHA inspections display some of the machinery and related hazards associated with sawmill operations (Windows Media Player or an equivalent is necessary to view video clips).
  • Personal Protective Equipment. OSHA Publication 3151-12R, (2003). Also available as a 629 KB PDF, 46 pages. Discusses the types of equipment most commonly used to protect the head, torso, arms, hands, and feet. Additional topics include requirements, hazard assessment, selection, and employee training.

  • Hand and Power Tools. OSHA Publication 3080, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 171 KB PDF, 32 pages. Presents to employees and employers a summary of the basic safety procedures and safeguards associated with hand and portable power tools.

  • Hazards Communication Guidelines for Compliance. OSHA Publication 3111, (2000). Also available as a 112 KB PDF, 33 pages. Provides a general guide for employers that do not produce or import chemicals to help them determine what the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires.

  • Materials Handling and Storing [2 MB PDF*, 41 pages]. OSHA Publication 2236, (Revised 2002). Helps employers know and understand the potential hazards associated with the task at hand and how to control their workplaces to minimize the danger.

  • Respiratory Protection [273 KB PDF*, 42 pages]. OSHA Publication 3079, (Revised 2002). Provides an introduction to respiratory protection, and discusses the methods of protection a person can use to guard themselves against respiratory hazards.

  • Process Safety Management. OSHA Publication 3132, (2000). Also available as a 199 KB PDF, 59 pages. Summarizes the OSHA final process safety management (PSM) standard.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

*These files are provided for downloading.