Pilot Project: Safety and Health of Immigrant Forest Workers on the Olympic Peninsula (NIOSH/CDC, 2007-2009)

Latino immigrant workers are increasingly finding employment as laborers in Pacific Northwest forests. This project provided a baseline understanding of the hazards faced by salvage cedar block cutters and the barriers they may face in addressing these occupational health and safety hazards. Employing community based participatory research methods, 13 key informant interviews were conducted with forest and community workers. The findings of this project, in brief, include:

  • Block cutters face known forest worker risks and injuries, such as falls, injuries from tools, heavy lifting and varied PPE use
  • Block cutters face unique risks, such as during helicopter transport of loads, working in isolation, and lack of on the job training
  • Social environment, such as intercultural and community dynamics, impacts workplace health and safety.

A health and safety workshop was conducted for forest workers on the Olympic Peninsula and an informational DVD on forest worker health and safety was developed for local distribution.