VICTORIA – The Western Silviculture Contractors’ Association (WSCA) will receive $500,000 for the delivery of four safety programs designed specifically for the silviculture industry, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell and Community Development Minister Kevin Krueger announced today.
“I want to thank the silviculture industry for this initiative,” said Bell. “We’re working to make British Columbia a world leader in growing trees, and that leadership includes safety for its workers. This training will add to the broad range of actions we’re taking to promote a culture of safety right across the forest sector.”
The safety programs will focus on all-terrain vehicle use, resource road driver training, power saw operations, and silviculture supervisors’ training. Funded through the Community Development Trust, the four programs set a standard for the silviculture industry, are endorsed by the B.C Forest Safety Council and will be offered in collaboration with WorkSafeBC.
“Through the Community Development Trust, we’re pleased to support this education initiative. This training for 1,400 people over the next two years will improve safety for those already working in the silviculture industry and will help build a culture of safety among future employees,” said Krueger. “Clearly, this investment will provide benefits to workers for many years to come.”
The All-Terrain Vehicle Training (ATV) will train forest crews in the proper handling of ATVs, including how to safely unload them from the back of a crew cab or pickup truck. The Resource Road Driver Training program will focus on the design and handling characteristics of light trucks, how resource road conditions affect driving, and the ‘unlearning’ of bad driving habits. The Silviculture Power Saw Operation training program will teach the proper safety and handling of power saws, specifically chain and brush saws used in silviculture situations.
The Silviculture Supervisor Training for crew boss and project managers builds on the foundation of the B.C. Forest Safety Council’s basic supervisor training, which the WSCA has adapted with new content specific to silviculture issues. The training will not only focus on operators and supervisors but will also serve to certify instructors to deliver safety training.
“From a safety perspective, training is particularly important to us because of our changing work force,” said WSCA executive director John Betts. “A lot of experienced workers have left in the last few years to be replaced by younger workers who will need a combination of experience and targeted training to prepare them for the specific challenges they face on the job.”
The $129-million Community Development Trust was established in May 2008, to help forest families, communities and companies with the downturn in the industry. More than 5,000 forest workers in communities across the province will benefit from programs and services made available by the trust over three years.
Reference #: 2009FOR0024-000325
Date released: Feb 24, 2009
Region: Province Wide
Public Affairs Officer
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