Young Workers, Remote Camps; What are Contractors’ Liabilities?

The tragic death of a twenty-year-old treeplanter earlier this year has raised issues and questions about where silvicultural employers’ obligations and liabilities end regarding the conduct of their employees.

The tragic death of a twenty-year old treeplanter earlier this year has raised issues and questions about where silvicultural employers’ obligations and liabilities end regarding the conduct of their employees. At the moment there are more questions than answers and the WSCA is now working with lawyers to draw up guidlelines for the silvicultural sector.

Some things to be considered include alcohol and drug abuse in camps. Already the courts have sent a clear message that employers are partially responsible for worker behavior particularly if the employer has provided the alcohol. Considering the impressionability and inexperience of its employees, an industry that comprises a majority of young workers may have a moral obligation to operate by higher standards of care indcluding safety, training and general conduct. What is sufficient diligence in this area? Remote camps; is the workforce considered “captive” therefore shifting more obligations onto the employers shoulders? Do employers have to make a reasonable effort to train workers in logging road driving if they ask employees to report to remote camps? A report is expected this fall with follow up sessions and guideline workshops planned for the WSCA annual conference next February.