The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation requirement that employers notify regional WCB offices of the commencement of a forestry operation appears to be widely ignored based on an ongoing survey by the BC Safe Silviculture Project.
The mandatory OH&S reg. Part 26.4 states, “Before commencing a forestry operation, other than a silviculture operation five working days or less in a workplace, notice of the operation must be sent to the nearest board office in writing, or in another manner acceptable to the board.”
Contractor compliance with the regulation varies across the province from non-existent to intermittent according to interviews with WCB prevention officers and silviculture contractors. In some instances employers report their first project, but fail to report subsequent operations and their workplaces. Ignoring this rule frustrates the WCB’s attempts to conduct silviculture field inspections and it impedes proposed emergency rescue resource sharing between remote industrial operations. It is also an obvious way for shirkers to fly below the WCB safety radar.
The BC Safe Silviculture Project is working with the WCB, BC Timber Sales and Licensees to improve compliance with this routine, but critical, requirement. Penalties are provided for violations but so far have not been widely applied by WCB. Part 26.4 Notice of Project
(1) Before commencing a forestry operation, other than a silviculture operation that will last 5 working days or less at a workplace, notice of the operation must be sent to the nearest Board office in writing, or in another manner acceptable to the Board,
(a) by the employer, or
(b) if the operation involves workers of more than one employer, or workers and independent operators, by the owner or the person engaged by the owner to be the prime contractor.
(2) The notice required under subsection (1) must identify the
(a) location of the operation,
(b) name of the owner or licensee of the trees,
(c) name of the person conducting the operation,
(d) type of work to be performed,
(e) type of equipment to be used, and
(f) procedures to be used if trees are to be harvested by commercial thinning, selective logging, individual tree selection or other similar methods.