Reports Outline Forestry Workforce Safety and Productivity Trends-Some Good, Some Not

WSCA Conference: Forestry Ombudsman Roger Harris aptly titled his recently released report on the forest sector workforce “Not out of the Woods.”

The fatalism of that title points to a situation where Harris says he can see logs not harvested or milled because of a disappearing forestry workforce. He attributed that discouraging trend to an ageing workforce, the loss of typical worker recruitment paths, reluctance of employers to train employees and the expectations of the new workforce. Silviculture reflects some of the those trends, but it is seeing a younger and less experienced workforce filling the shoes of exiting experience. Researcher Jordan Tesluk’s 2006 Report Health and Safety in the B.C. Treeplanting Industry described some encouraging trends in safety. Younger workers are generally more accident prone, but attitudes among young treeplanters surveyed show a growing intolerance for risk taking—a leading indicator of safe behaviour.