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Two thirds of injuries are concentrated in four high-risk branches (viz. agriculture, construction, manufacturing and transport) (Macedo and Silva, 2005). The accident rate in forestry is significantly higher than in other sectors considered to be of high risk: e.g. the fatal accident rate in the United States forestry was 19 times higher than in other sectors, but also 11.5 times greater than in the New Zealand forest sector, revealing that forest work is the most dangerous, with loggers being the most exposed (Peters, 1991; Bell, 2002, Lefort et al., 2003, Albizu-Urionabarrenetxea et al., 2013). In Spain, the incident rate of all other sectors was 3 to 4 times lower than that of forestry (Cabeças, 2007). In Australian forestry, injuries were 2 to more than 3 times greater than in the rest of industries (Driscol et al., 1995). Fatal accidents rates in Germany were 3 times higher in the forestry sector than in construction, and twice as high as in agriculture. (Albien-Urionabarrenetxea et al. 2013).
Occupational injuries are affected by many factors (operating conditions, work organization etc.) Martinić (1999) listed working operation carried out against safety rules and irregular work performance as the most common reason for injuries of workers in Croatian forests.
Tree fellers have the most dangerous job in the logging industry (Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 2000). Presumably, if machinery is used to harvest trees, the person operating the equipment will be protected by the cab of the machine, thus reducing the number of injuries caused by a falling object (Bell, 2002).
The number of occupational injuries in Serbia has steadily increased until the eighties, which was followed by a period of stagnation until 1985 and then a decline in the number of injuries (Aranđelović and Jovanović, 2009). The reason for this is probably a decrease in production volume and sporadically reported violations. At the same time, the number of fatal injuries was not significantly reduced. Most of the injured workers were recorded in forestry, which was followed by water management, construction and agriculture (Aranđelović and Jovanović, 2009).
Generally speaking, so far there have been no serious analyses of occupational injuries in Serbian forestry. This is confirmed by the fact that ILO and OSHA reports do not contain any data on Serbia. We were unable to obtain data on the entire territory of the Republic from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia for the purpose of this study. However, the data on the territory of the FE „Sremska Mitrovica“ were provided by the PE „Vojvodinašume“. The Forest estate (FE) „Sremska Mitrovica“ as one of four forest estates within the PE „Vojvodinašume“ has the largest timber volume of all of them. The intended felling volume in this FE is logged using the estate’s own resources and labour force, with most workers being permanently employed.
The aim of this study is to determine the frequency of injuries and their causes. In addition, the goal is to estimate the correlation between worker performance and the frequency of injuries.
The main hypothesis in this paper is that occupational injuries are in correlation with worker performance.
The data for this study were collected in the territory of 5 work units located within the FE Sremska Mitrovica, as one of the four forest estates within the PE „Vojvodinašume“ in the Republic of Serbia: Forest administration (FA) Klenak (hereinafter referred to as WU1), FA Kupinovo (WU2), FA Morović (WU3), FA Višnjićevo (WU4) and Forest Machinery Morović (WU5). This forest estate (Figure 1) was selected as the research location because the entire logging and assortment processing in its territory are performed by engaging the FE’s own resources and labour force.
All five work units of this forest estate are characterized by a flat terrain and average altitudes of below 100 m, and