Agriculture and forestry are two of the most dangerous industries in the US with a high prevalence and incident rate of occupational injuries.

While forestry, nursery and vineyard industries are major economic drivers in the Pacific Northwest agriculture, these three sectors have the highest MSD rates (60 per 1000 workers in forestry, 40 per 1000 workers in nursery and 80 per 1000 workers in vineyard).

These MSD rates are almost 100 times higher than the industrial targets set by NIOSH (Healthy People, 2000).

This disproportionally high injury rate is due to the physically demanding nature of the work performed in harsh environment (e.g., outdoor, heat/cold stress, steep, uneven and wet ground) posing various physical risk factors.

Our research is to reduce occupational exposures to improve health and well-being of forestry and agriculture workers.

On-going Research Project

  • "Systematic evaluation of exoskeletons in reducing musculoskeletal disorders in manual timber felling" to reduce physical risk factors and associated injuries of forest workers during timber felling operations by introducing exoskeletons as an ergonomic control.
    • Sponsor: NIOSH-sponsored Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health (PNASH) Center
    • PIs: Jay Kim, PhD; Woodam Chung, PhD


We are collecting surveys from various stakeholders in Forestry including timber fellers, logging workers, safety professionals, managers, supervisors, educators, and industry owners in order to determine industry's readiness for exoskeletons.  If you are associated with foresty industry, please fill out the survey here: 

Wearable Exoskeleton Device Survey for Forestry Industry (Oregon State University)

Looking forward to your inputs and feedback.


Relevant publications