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News Releases
5 ways to prepare your workplace for smoke season - 06/12/19

Summary: Wildfire season is coming. Here’s how to prepare your business.

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Wildfires are getting bigger, lasting longer, and happening more often in Oregon and across the western United States. In addition to the immediate harm from the fire itself, hazardous smoke travels well beyond the fire lines, putting people and businesses at risk.

“Smoke has become a more significant workplace risk as wildfires are larger and more frequent,” said Kim Henry, industrial hygienist at SAIF. “We want to make sure we reduce the risk of complications for Oregon’s workforce.”

Henry offers five ways to make sure your workplace is better prepared:

  • Include wildfire smoke events in your emergency response plans.
  • Monitor fire and smoke risk in your area. One resource is DEQ’s Air Quality Index.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Check filters on HVAC units and change when needed. Recirculate air instead of bringing in outdoor air, and keep windows and doors closed.
  • Consider supplying filtering facepiece respirators, such as N-95 or N-100, for voluntary short-term use. (Provide information from OSHA before use.)
  • Plan how to get employees to safer locations, or when to release them before situations worsen.

Remember, people who work outdoors, have respiratory conditions or cardiovascular disease, smoke, or are pregnant have a higher risk of health impacts

Find more tips for preparing your business—before, during, and after wildfire season.

About SAIF

SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page.

Chainsaws aren't only dangerous in horror movies [videos] - 05/29/19

Summary: New videos from SAIF offer safety tips for chainsaw use at home and work.

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It’s the stuff of horror movies—the villain chasing teenagers through the dark woods, brandishing a chainsaw.

But nothing is scarier than the statistics on chainsaw use. While chainsaws can be a useful tool to trim, prune, or remove trees, 36,000 people are injured by them in the U.S. every year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since 2014, SAIF has had nearly 400 chainsaw-related injury claims. Of those claims, 34% resulted in time loss—with an average time loss of 45 days.

“Those are just days of work missed,” explained Leigh Manning, senior safety management consultant at SAIF. “That doesn’t account for how much life those workers missed because of a preventable injury.”

That’s why SAIF has released a series of videos to reduce chainsaw injuries at work and at home. The videos are available in both English and Spanish. They were created in partnership with Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc.

“Now that we’re heading into summer, Oregonians are spending more time in their yards addressing damage from a long winter of rain and wind,” said Manning. “We just want to make sure people are safe and avoid injuries in the process.”

While the videos provide comprehensive guidelines for operating a chainsaw, Manning offers these three key points:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including chaps.
  • Inspect the tree or log to remove anything that could hang up the blade and cause kickback.
  • Keep chainsaw teeth sharp and regularly adjust the chain tension.
  • Review the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for use—don’t use the wrong tool for the job.

More information can be found at saif.com/safetyandhealth.

About SAIF

SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page.