MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS, Vt. — Vermont LEAP is pleased to announce the launch of the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program. Loggers that meet and follow the program standards can receive up to a 15%* discount on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums through the new occupation class codes of “safety certified mechanized logger” and “safety certified non-mechanized logger.” The LEAP program, with recently updated training and continuing education standards, endorsed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), has been recognized as one of the two qualifying certifications for this program.
The basic information for loggers is as follows:
If a logger would like to qualify the payroll of their employees as “safety certified,” the employees must meet the following training standards:
- Non-mechanized loggers – chainsaw tree felling and processing
Employees must have taken all four levels of Game of Logging within the past five years, or, if it was more than five years since they took all four levels, they must take Level 5, a refresher course.
- Mechanized loggers – all work is performed from inside the safety of a cab with ROPS (Rollover Protective Structure) or FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structure) Employees must take the new “Introduction to Mechanized Logging Safety” and “Advanced Logger Safety”
For employers/business owners:
- Forest Operations Supervisor
At least one person actively engaged in the day to day management of operations from each logging contractor’s organization (this could be employers or crew foremen), must complete “Supervising for Safety” which is a leadership and communications training to educate employers and managers on how to instill a culture of safety on their operation and learn about where injuries and claims are happening on logging operations
- Onsite safety certification
Logger safety organizations and insurance companies have learned that any modernized safety training needs to be followed up by an onsite “loss prevention consultation” from a logging safety specialist, where operators are observed doing their work to ensure that they are working safely, using the skills learned in trainings. The state is working on making this service available for logging contractors. Once that service is setup later this summer, employers will be able to sign up to have a “loss prevention specialist” visit their logging operation, evaluate them with a standardized set of criteria, and if they are meeting the standards, designate them as “safety certified.” This onsite consultation will be the final step to achieving the discount, and then continuing education standards must be followed, including training and annual onsite visits.
For those that are completely new to LEAP or SFI certification, you can register for LEAP and take the safety trainings in 2019 to qualify for the program, but you will need to complete the other required primary curriculum and courses starting in 2020 to maintain your LEAP/SFI certification. See the updated LEAP Primary Curriculum Guide for more information.
For loggers that are currently LEAP certified, but don’t have employees, you will also need to meet an updated requirement for safety training in the future. Additional information will be sent out about that once we are through the upcoming round of trainings.
The LEAP website has been updated with training opportunities for all categories needed to qualify for this program. There is limited registration space available for the courses. The most important qualifying course for all employers, both mechanized and non-mechanized operations to be aware of is the Forest Operations Supervisor training, will be on July 24th, which is coming right up. Don’t wait, sign up today!
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has a new website with more information for loggers, landowners and consulting foresters. Among the many resources, you will find a calculator to determine the cost per ton or MBF of workers’ comp insurance to your operation. See this link for more details: https://fpr.vermont.gov/vermont-logger-safety-and-workers-compensation-insurance-program
Finally, in 2019 the legislature approved funding to reduce the cost of safety trainings offered by the LEAP program. The bill, S.160, was only recently signed by the Governor and it will take some time for that funding to reach LEAP and be reflected in the cost of safety trainings, but the process has started, and you’ll learn more about this in future communications.
* Employers should obtain a quote from an insurance agent to learn how the discount will apply to their workers’ comp insurance rate for “safety certified mechanized logger” and “safety certified non-mechanized logger”
Forest Operations Supervisor – Supervising for Safety
July 24th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm, UVM Extension, 327 US Route 302 Berlin
The Game of Logging (GOL)
This is a four-day training program that will be offered multiple times and locations.
Introduction to Mechanized Logging Safety
October 8th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm • Nortrax, 300 Clinton Street, Springfield
October 9th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm • Anderson Equipment, 151 Packard Road, E. Montpelier
Advanced Logger Safety
October 14th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm • Stan Robinson and Sons Log Yard, 2841 US-5, Passumpsic
October 15th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm • Lafoe Logging, LLC, 151 Tarbox Hill Road, Orleans
October 17th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm • Long View Forest, 48 Picz Road, Westminster
October 18th, 2019 7:45am-4:00pm • Gagnon Lumber, 89 Stevens Road, Pittsford
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