The Potlatch Corp., Lewiston, Idaho, and OSHA have agreed to a strategic partnership aimed at improving worker safety and health in the logging industry.
Ryan Kuehmichel, OSHA area director in Idaho, and Mike McAllister, of Potlatch Corp., formalized the agreement in a ceremony yesterday at Potlatch Corp.''s office.
Potlatch is the first timberland owner in Idaho to enter into a logging partnership agreement with OSHA.
According to OSHA, logging has traditionally been a dangerous occupation.
The Logging Partnership Project was created as a way that government and the timber industry could work together to reduce the risks by ensuring that contract loggers had effective safety programs.
"OSHA wanted Potlatch Corp. as our first partner because their safety and health management of contract loggers is outstanding," said Richard Terrill, OSHA regional administrator in Seattle.
The Potlatch Corp. proved to have the most effective management oversight of contract loggers in the area and has established an effective policy for dealing with noncomplying contractors, said Terrill.
Hazards are also well documented and corrected immediately when found. The company has also promoted contract employee involvement by ensuring that contract employees are involved in safety meetings and site inspections.
OSHA said it will consider logging partnerships with other industrial timberland owners who have created policies and processes to improve logging safety for their contract workforce.
As part of the agreement, Potlatch Corp. was evaluated on the following items: management commitment and leadership, assignment of responsibility for the contract logging companies, identification and control of hazards, training and education, recordkeeping and hazard analysis, first aid and medical assistance, hazard communication program and energy control program lockout/tagout.
by Virginia Sutcliffe