TN 11 (11-11)

RS 02101.220 Timber Workers (Buckers, Cutters, Fellers, Processors, and Skidders)

A. Definitions

1. Buckers

Buckers cut trees into profitable lengths with either a chain saw or heavier machinery, such as slashers, harvesters, or processors. After they cut the trees, they collect and transport them.

2. Cutters

Timber cutters fell timber with axes, two-man handsaws, or power saws and often works in pairs. They also trim branches, cut the tree trunks into specified lengths, and sometimes peel off the bark. These workers usually work with their own tools.

3. Fellers

Timber fellers use chain saws, or other mechanical devices mounted on logging vehicles, to fell trees. They can either de-limb the felled trees at the site or at roadside landings.

4. Processors

Timber processors combine two or more of the operations described in this section.

5. Skidders

Skidders (also known as forwarders) drag logs or trees to roadside landings, or load and transport logs, fuel wood or pulpwood to similar destinations. They usually work with their own equipment.

B. Timber workers’ services

Timber workers who convert trees into lumber, railroad ties, posts, piling, pulp for paper, mine timbers, shingles, etc., make up a large occupational field.

  • The occupational types range from the unskilled laborer to the professional.

  • Most problems arise because those who harvest the trees work under such varied conditions.

  • Harvesting occurs from the time timber workers select the trees for cutting, to the point where the trees pass through the mill and become lumber, ties, posts, etc.

  • The work conditions and arrangements vary with the size of the operation.

  • Small operators usually exert more control over workers than big operators do.

    For example, one who buys or leases large stands of timber and operates a number of mills to process them quite often subcontracts with others to complete certain phases of the operation. However, the person who owns a single sawmill usually hires people to do the work. The employer controls the workers and supervises the whole operation.

C. Timber workers as employees

Timber workers are employees when:

  • the company assigns workers to each area and instructs the workers on the kind and size of trees to cut;

  • the company lead supervisor periodically inspects the harvested work area and, if not satisfied with the progress, replaces the workers with another crew;

  • the company shifts the crews from one work area to another to accelerate operations. If a worker is ill or not performing satisfactory work, the lead supervisor may replace the worker;

  • they are assigned specific areas to harvest, and they do not have the right to work in other areas;

  • they choose their own work hours, but must finish each work area within a certain time; or

  • they receive pay on a piecework basis or by the cord, and the company will generally not pay for products that do not meet specifications.

D. Timber workers as independent contractors

Timber workers are independent contractors when they:

  • bargain for "package" jobs, which they complete by their own methods (subject to production specifications required by the contracting company);

  • determine their work hours and pay rates, and control the helpers' work conditions;

  • hold themselves out to the public as a contractor, and sometimes hold several logging contracts at the same time;

  • are free to hire and direct others to do the work and are responsible for expenses incurred to fulfill the contract;

  • receive timber rights to tracts of land and legally bind themselves to remove all or certain parts of the timber within specified times at set prices;

  • are in a position to make a profit or suffer a loss, depending on the management of helpers, the care of the tools and equipment, and the work methods;

  • are paid to obtain a result, which does not necessarily depend on their own personal services; and

  • supply the necessary equipment, and sometimes the tools for the helpers.

As long as the worker produces results that measure up to specifications, there is no desire or legal right to interfere with the worker's methods.

E. Control factors for services performed by timber workers

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