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Oregon logging, construction deaths ‘troubling,’ state OSHA official says

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Oregon OSHA

Photo: Oregon OSHA

Portland, OR – Logging and construction industry deaths in Oregon continue to occur despite widely known preventive measures, according to the State Plan state’s administrator.

Of the 31 workers in the state killed on the job in 2014, about 20 percent were in either the logging or construction industry, indicates preliminary data released March 10 by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

“Given that those are [deaths] we know how to prevent, it’s troubling that we continue to see issues,” said Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA administrator. “It’s not some fantastic new technology that has come out and caught us all off guard.”

Wood spoke with Safety+Health magazine via telephone from the Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety & Health Conference. The administrator believes Oregon OSHA is focusing on the right issues and that the figures will decline with continued attention and focus. Part of the challenge, Wood said, is fighting complacency and not accepting current fatality figures as satisfactory.

“I think we need to reach a point where we say to ourselves that this is not good enough, this is not where we need to be today, and not where we need to be in 10 years,” he said.

The fatality figures come from Oregon’s workers’ compensation system, and may differ from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report expected later this year.