Logging and the timber industry run deep in Oregon.

Unfortunately, logging is the most dangerous job in the USA.

It may not be a surprise that logging is even more dangerous than commercial fishing, construction, mining, and roofing jobs. The sheer magnitude of the huge trees in Oregon's rugged forests make logging a skilled job not for the meek combining steep terrain and hazards associated with marking danger trees, choker setter, chaser, hook tender, faller, limbing, bucking, debarking, chipping, yarding, loading, hauling, unloading, and storing logs.

Protect your rights if you've been injured in an Oregon logging accident.

Logging accidents can cause serious injury requiring expensive medical care and extensive time to heal, in some cases lifelong injuries that require ongoing care, and even wrongful death.

Contact Mike for a free consultation to discuss your case as soon as you or a loved one is able.

Portland Personal Injury Attorney Michael Colbach

Mike is a top rated Portland personal injury lawyer by former clients and legal peers.

Portland personal injury attorney chosen super lawyers by peers in law for over ten consecutive years

Mike and I have worked together referring business for years so when I got into a serious accident, I knew I had the case won. After a tender and demand, Mike successfully arbitrated my case for an award 15 times that which was initially offered by the carrier. This was no simple red light green light matter, with complicated economic damages and coverage issues. I have referred Colbach to friends and family for years and will continue. -->More

former client Teton Offshorefishing about his personal injury case he hired Mike to work on . Teton Offshorefishing
5 star review posted on Google about Portland personal injury attorney Michael Colbach by Teton Offshorefishing
Google Review

Mike Colbach represents injured Oregon loggers on a contingency fee basis which means, you don't pay anything until you have recovered your full monetary compensation.

Modern logging usually involves multiple different logging contractors working on one site.

Mike will identify all the responsible parties in your case whether it is a third party to your workers compensation claim, a negligent worker, or an indirect employer or subcontractor.

OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) sets safety requirements for logging that are very strict. A violation of these OSHA standards may prove a violation under the Employer Liability Law in Oregon.

In some cases, an employer may not carry worker's compensation insurance, you can still recover under Oregon's Employer Liability Law.

And while worker's compensation claims usually protect the employer with immunity, if there is a violation of an OSHA standard, the Employer Liability Law may nullify this and deem the employer as non-complying employer, and you may use the Employer Liability Law to recover any loss and harm or injury you suffered.

Similarly, any indirect employer, or even employees of other contractors at a logging site engaged in the common enterprise at that logging site, whose actions or the comingling of different workers on the work site caused you harm, the Oregon Employer Liability Law may also pertain and help you recover from the harm, loss, and injury it caused.

These types of cases are complicated, but having an Oregon lawyer familiar with the logging industry, third party worker's comp claims, and Oregon's Employer Liability Law, will help protect your rights by identifying any party that was negligent or contributed negligence to the logging accident that harmed you.

You may have a claim under Oregon's Employer Liability Law.

The Employer Liability Law sets a high standard for work place safety in Oregon and goes beyond what a worker's compensation claim can do for an injured worker like being able to recover for your pain and suffering, loss of mobility and non economic damages, in addition to medical costs and lost wages.

654.305 Protection and safety of persons in hazardous employment generally. Generally, all owners, contractors or subcontractors and other persons having charge of, or responsibility for, any work involving a risk or danger to the employees or the public shall use every device, care and precaution that is practicable to use for the protection and safety of life and limb, limited only by the necessity for preserving the efficiency of the structure, machine or other apparatus or device, and without regard to the additional cost of suitable material or safety appliance and devices.

654.310 Places of employment; compliance with applicable orders, rules. All owners, contractors, subcontractors, or persons whatsoever, engaged in the construction, repairing, alteration, removal or painting of any building, bridge, viaduct or other structure, or in the erection or operation of any machinery, or in the manufacture, transmission and use of electricity, or in the manufacture or use of any dangerous appliance or substance, shall see that all places of employment are in compliance with every applicable order, decision, direction, standard, rule or regulation made or prescribed by the Department of Consumer and Business Services ...

654.315 Persons in charge of work to see that ORS 654.305 to 654.336 are complied with. The owners, contractors, subcontractors, foremen, architects or other persons having charge of the particular work, shall see that the requirements of ORS 654.305 to 654.336 are complied with.

654.320 Who considered agent of owner. The manager, superintendent, foreman or other person in charge or control of all or part of the construction, works or operation shall be held to be the agent of the employer in all suits for damages for death or injury suffered by an employee.

654.325 Who may prosecute damage action for death; damages unlimited. If there is any loss of life by reason of violations of ORS 654.305 to 654.336 by any owner, contractor or subcontractor or any person liable under ORS 654.305 to 654.336, the surviving spouse and children and adopted children of the person so killed and, if none, then the lineal heirs of that person and, if none, then the mother or father, as the case may be, shall have a right of action without any limit as to the amount of damages which may be awarded. If none of the persons entitled to maintain such action reside within the state, the executor or administrator of the deceased person may maintain such action for their respective benefits and in the order above named.

654.330 Fellow servant negligence as defense. In all actions brought to recover from an employer for injuries suffered by an employee, the negligence of a fellow servant shall not be a defense where the injury was caused or contributed to by any of the following causes:

      (1) Any defect in the structure, materials, works, plant or machinery of which the employer or the agent of the employer could have had knowledge by the exercise of ordinary care.

      (2) The neglect of any person engaged as superintendent, manager, foreman or other person in charge or control of the works, plant, machinery or appliances.

      (3) The incompetence or negligence of any person in charge of, or directing the particular work in which the employee was engaged at the time of the injury or death.

      (4) The incompetence or negligence of any person to whose orders the employee was bound to conform and did conform and by reason of having conformed thereto the injury or death resulted.

      (5) The act of any fellow servant done in obedience to the rules, instructions or orders given by the employer or any other person who has authority to direct the doing of said act.

654.336 Comparative negligence. The provisions of ORS 31.600 to 31.620 apply to an action under ORS 654.305 to 654.336. [2001 c.865 §17]

Modern logging has changed, and it employs significantly fewer loggers, but it still ranks as the most dangerous job in the USA year over year, and Oregon continues to employ more loggers than any other state in the USA.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' national census of fatal occupation injuries revealed that the logging industry has a fatal work injury rate of 82 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2021. That industry was followed by fishing and hunting workers with 75 and roofers with 59.

Modern Logging
Lumber Industry - Equipment

modern logging in Oregon using heavy equipment like front mounted saw for selective logging
The Siuslaw National Forest Collection, Oregon State University.
"Equipment for selective logging, front-mounted saw."

Mechanical logging machines have changed the job too.

Loggers are logging trees and working in parts of the forest now that would have not been possible 30 years ago. In some ways this has improved safety for loggers, but in other ways it hasn't changed the fundamental nature of the dangerous hard work. Machines break, cables break, workers fail to maintain these new machines or are improperly trained to use the machines, logging sites change day to day with dead trees and dead tree limbs, rocks and boulders that may be dislodged by changes from these massive root systems of nearby trees.

In 2022, logging workers had a fatal work injury rate of 100.7. That's per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers and was the highest rate among occupations. Roofers followed with a rate of 57.5. Those rates were way above the rate for all workers, which was "3.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent" workers per a news release from BLS.

logger in Siuslaw National Forest bucking a log

The Siuslaw National Forest Collection, Oregon State University.
"Bucking a log"

logging in Oregon machine worker yarding logs

The Siuslaw National Forest Collection, Oregon State University.
"Yarding logs"

Oregon logging trucks are even more dangerous than a regular truck / tractor trailer.

Logging trucks present numerous ways that they pose extra dangers to all around them.

The logs on the truck trailer must be loaded with extreme care making sure the load is balanced and remains in place. Logs can shift causing potential problems for imbalanced loads, or loads can cause the truck and trailer to be out of balance and tip over. If a logging truck tips or is imbalanced, anyone or any people in cars near the logging truck are also in a danger zone as the logs can roll and the situation is definitely unpredictable.

Logging trucks also pose dangers to all others on the roads when debris from the trees can break off and hit other motorists and even motorcycle riders or bicyclists on the roads and highways. For a motorcyclist, debris from logging trucks can even be deadly.

Logging trucks can be loaded improperly, not just out of balance, logs may extend too far beyond the end of the trailer, or be loaded too heavy or too tall.

Logging operations are big operations and logging truckers are motivated to get their loads en route to their destination so that they can turn around and get another load.

Logging trucks are often run by subcontractor companies that may not be part of the official logging company on a site. Logging trucks can pose dangers to all loggers and workers on a logging site when logs are being loaded onto logging trucks, or moving the big trucks around in a dangerous logging work zone.

semi truck and tractor trailer in Oregon forest hauling full load of fresh cut timber trees

OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University.
"Log truck emitting fumes"