Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Toolbox

Case Details

Ergonomics research in the southern United States

Author(s) Smith, L.A. & Thomas, R.E. Jr.
Year of publication 1993
This article discusses ergonomics research related to forest harvesting in the southeastern United States. The activities were sponsored by the United States Forest Service's Southern Forest Experiment Station between 1980 and 1992. Parallels in prevailing environmental conditions between the southern United States and areas of the humid tropics make many of the results of significant interest on a wider scale. The forest products industry is one of the largest employers in the southern portion of the United States. Forest harvesting activities employ numerous individuals in manual, semi-mechanized and fully mechanized tasks. These tasks have historically been physically stressful and associated with high accident and injury frequency as well as severity rates. Harvesting in the region is done primarily by numerous small-scale independent contractors. In addition, several large forest product companies operate a few "company" harvesting crews. Although still requiring the performance of strenuous manual activities, harvesting is rapidly becoming highly mechanized, utilizing expensive, short-lived equipment. It is critical that harvesting be accomplished in a cost - effective, productive manner. It is equally important that harvesting be accomplished without subjecting the work - force to undue physical stress, bodily injury or health risks.
Type of Case
Printed publication (book, sourcebook, journal article…)
FAO Unasylva no 172
Forest Type
All forest types (natural and planted)
Primary Designated Function