BC Safe Silviculture Project Outlines Three Year Goals

Last year the BC Forest Safety Task Force made a series of recommendations and action plans to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities in the province’s forest sector. The BC Safe Silviculture Project has set a course for the silvicultural sector aiming to reduce its high injury rate and encourage a positive change in health and safety attitudes and practices among workers and contractors.

January 13, 2005 Backgrounder BC Safe Silviculture Program

“As an employer, you do not own or rent your employees. Your borrow them from their families and friends. It is your task to ensure they return from work each day safe and secure.” Colin James father of Julia James who died in a vehicle accident while treeplanting.

Project Objectives

• Effect a cultural change so that the attitudes and practices of employers and employees reflect an industry comprising competent contractors and confident workers capable of making the best decisions around workplace safety and employment practices.

• Encourage the development of a legal regime compatible with the characteristics of the industry that establishes practical and professional standards and a regulatory framework and recognizes competent and compliant participants in the silviculture sector.

• Encourage all contractor participants in the industry to meet a prequalification standard accepted by the whole forest sector as necessary for participation in the industry.

• Encourage workers in key silviculture sector occupations to receive training and become certified or qualified as competent.

• Maintain a program of ongoing improvement and adoption built on strategic review and self-correction.

• Measure the effects of the Project on reducing injury rates and improving workplace safety and employment practices and attitudes.

Implementation

In collaboration with the BC Forest Safety Council, the WSCA will manage and implement the program by:

• Producing a three-year work plan identifying projects, milestones and budget projections.

• Establishing a Silviculture Advisory Committee to provide on-going advice and guidance to the project.

• Developing programs to audit, review, and certify the safety and employment standards practices of contractors that operate in the BC Silviculture Sector;

• Developing safety training standards for the BC Silviculture Sector;

• Developing a process for ensuring that participants in the BC Silviculture Sector receive consistent safety training from qualified, competent instructors;

• Developing safety training and certification or qualification programs for employees in specified occupations in the BC Silviculture Sector;

• Contributing to the development and management of a registry that collects and maintains information on all certified silvicultual contracting firms, certified silvicultural workers, qualified silvicultural workers and certified trainers.

• Working with the Council to create a joint communications strategy to introduce and describe the Project’s activities along with producing and distributing education and training materials and updates advocating health, safety and wellness in the silvicultural workplace.

• Preparing a base case or benchmark study of safety in the BC Silviculture Sector by May 1, 2005;

• Collecting fees for the services and materials that it provides as part of the Program

• The program is intended to become self-supporting.

For more information contact:

John Betts, Executive Director
Western Silvicultural Contractors Association
Ph: 250-229-4380