Vermont Launches Logger Safety and Insurance Program

The program is designed to modernize safety training for logging contractors and their employees, reducing injuries and insurance claims and allowing them to qualify for lower insurance rates.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on June 25 announced a new initiative, the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers' Compensation Insurance Program, that he said will address the high cost of workers' compensation insurance for logging contractors in the state's forestry industry. The program was developed collaboratively by the state's departments of Financial Regulation, Labor and Forests, Parks and Recreation, with input from logging safety trainers, the National Council on Compensation Insurance, and insurance carriers and business owners in the forestry sector. It is designed to modernize safety training for logging contractors and their employees, reducing injuries and insurance claims and allowing them to qualify for lower insurance rates.

"As we work to grow the economy and make Vermont a more affordable place to do business, the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers' Compensation Insurance Program will help employers provide safer workplaces for their employees while lowering their costs and allowing them to create more jobs in this sector," the governor said.

Supported by the state legislature, the program includes state funding to increase access to affordable safety training about the unique hazards of logging, with the training available to logging contractors throughout 2019.

"This program will help level the playing field amongst logging contractors and lower the cost of this necessary insurance," said Gabe Russo, owner of Southwind Forestry. "Reducing expenses during a time of difficult market and weather conditions will allow me to reinvest in my business and continue to provide professional services with properly insured employees to forestland owners in Vermont."

Workshops for employers and managers of logging operations will provide leadership and communications training, as well as information about current trends in losses and injuries related to logging, in order to increase industry-wide safety awareness. The state will provide on-site loss prevention consultation to verify that proper safety practices have been implemented by participating logging operations. To lower the traditionally high insurance premiums for logging contractors, which results in part from low participation rates of logging contractors in the workers' comp insurance pool, according to the governor's news release, the state also will provide new guidance to landowners and consulting foresters to ensure that they are contracting with properly insured entities.

A new website offers more information for logging contractors, consulting foresters, and forestland owners.

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