Occupational accident rate in the forestry sector

The concept of occupational accidents refers to the production of accidents and diseases linked to the exercise of a professional activity. The forestry sector is, after the construction sector, the one with the highest rate of occupational accidents and occupational diseases.

A more detailed analysis of the main sources of accidents in forestry work reveals that the forestry exploitation phase and more specifically felling, limbing and bucking with a chainsaw are the forestry activities with the highest accident rate. While the use of the chainsaw, which is a widely used tool in rural areas, causes 18% of accidents.

Moreover, forestry is characterized by a high degree of informality, especially linked to the expansion of illegal logging (also a major cause of deforestation). Informal work usually entails poor working conditions including low pay, lack of job security and of health and safety protection.

In the past years many governments have addressed the security and protection of forest workers with new regulations. The 1998 ILO Code of practice on Safety and Health in Forestry Work is not legally binding but provides guidance that can be used as a benchmark for good practice. In Europe, the Code has supplemented national efforts by involving governments and stakeholders in tackling safety and health within the industry, that are increasingly viewed as an important contributor to productivity, profitability and employability.

The use of the Internet of Things in the forest has a tremendous potential to play a vital role in its ecosystem management and stability. In digital forestry, IoT deployment would offer more effective operations, control, and forecasts for soil erosion, fires, and undesirable depositions, as well as protecting workers from dangerous circumstances and improving the decision making.

Furthermore, with the advancement in wireless communication technology and sensor technology, the implementation of IoT will become a cost-effective and innovative solution for overcoming the challenges in the forest. The wireless communication protocol empowers to transmit the sensory data of the forest to the cloud server for real-time monitoring and analysis of activities that are processing in the forest, with the results of a better integrated system at the local, national, and global levels.

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