Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
30 August 2019
Volume 19 Issue 12
Warning: Some of the facts in this edition may concern crop circles. We apologize for this lapse in gravity. But it is still summer and we thought we could get away with it. But first some serious stuff…
B.C.’s Major Forestry and Harvesting Contractor Associations Request WorkSafeBC Pilot TEAAM and Study Provincial Helicopter Emergency Medical Service Model for all Remote Resource Workers
British Columbia’s major harvesting and reforestation contractor associations have told B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains that helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) like the Squamish-based Technical Emergency Advanced Aero Medical (TEAAM) should be the standard of emergency response care for forest and other resource sector workers on remote worksites across the province. Stating their harvest and forestry members represent a sector comprising 25,000 employees the Truck Loggers Association, the Interior Logging Association and the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association have sent a joint letter asking that WorkSafeBC fully fund a TEAAM pilot and conduct a business case analysis of the costs and benefits of implementing a provincial HEMS program. The associations said that the current emergency response model, which often involves long distances and delays in getting injured workers to medical care, is no longer acceptable. They pointed out that the helicopter TEAAM model can deliver emergency medicine to stabilize injured workers on site, extract them from often difficult access locations, then fly them directly to hospital. That level of effectiveness can reduce workers’ suffering and prevent injury complications leading to disablement or worse. As reported in the RoundUpDate TEAAM has now performed four missions involving logging and planting workers since they began operating in spring 2018. They are currently just funded by a volunteer patronage program available to employers working on Vancouver Island and up to the mid-Coast including as well the South West Interior and Chilcotin. www.teaam.ca
Some WFCA Advice on How to Tender and Plant all of Next Year’s Seedlings
By all accounts this year’s reforestation program in B.C. seems to have us headed towards successfully planting 270-million seedlings; an above average year in terms of volume. A lot has gone right: no wildfires disrupting things in the province; no floods; some snow delays on the coast but we managed; better earnings motivating workers and so on. We were even helped by Alberta’s wildfires as crews came west over the Cordillera to help here when they were shut down. But now we must think of 2020 and the prospect of planting as many as 40-million more seedlings to reach an estimated 308-million. Our nurseries are doing a remarkable job in sowing and growing these seedlings. Now we have to plant them. Again, a lot will have to go right. To help with that the WFCA is offering some advice to our government and private sector clients when it comes to the upcoming tendering and negotiating tournament for 2020:
- Solicit bids early. The later an offering is tendered the less chance it will have of fitting into the program contractors build with their various clients.
- Cultivate your existing stable of eligible planting contractors prior to tendering letting them know what projects are pending so they can keep you in mind as they make overall plans.
- Offer multi-year renewable contracts so that both the buyer and seller can benefit from more certainty. In these arrangements, build a price matrix, or some similar method of correlating site difficulty to productivity and price from the original bid. Apply it reasonably to subsequent work to determine a fair price.
- Manage the size of your project offerings. Planting contractors may already have substantial parts of their program committed and will have difficulty fitting in a single large incremental project into their program. Consider that many contractors will fill in their program with open market offerings that fit without creating risk to their existing commitments. Creating a range of more modest size projects may have a better chance of all seedlings finding room in available bidders’ programs.
- Consider planting outside of the typical May-June window in either summer or fall. We simply cannot plant all the trees in those two spring months.
- Be prepared to have some trees planted beyond the typical spring planting date of June 21. This recommendation alone may be what it takes to get all the trees in the ground in the current market. It would be better for all programs to run a week late, than have a few projects receive no bids or run a month late because of capacity problems.
- Demonstrate some forbearance as the planting sector takes on hundreds of trainees in the near future. As an administrator, it might be better to not crush crew morale due to the mistakes of those learning on the job. It might be best to take a sympathetic approach which, over some time, will get the project where you want it. The contract is a framework for the give and take actually required in practice. Use it that way.
- Consider separating out some components of a project so that the contractor is not saddled with too many tasks. For instance, have the danger tree assessment or heli-pad inspections tendered as a separate contract or as “time-plus-materials” offering. This will reduce some uncertainties and stress on the planting bidder and possibly make the overall project more efficient and attractive.
- Manage road deactivation better. Access difficulties not only add to costs, they reduce production and increase the risks of injuries moving stock and workers to planting sites. The problem of improper and untimely road deactivation is widespread enough to have a significant cumulative effect on the sector’s productivity as a whole. It also puts workers in real jeopardy when it comes to transporting seriously injured workers to care.
- We recommend properly training and supervising operators to leave roads in some condition considered passable and consistent with what risk is being managed (e.g. water, public access etc.).
- Consider offering road deactivation as a separate contract to be done after planting.
RoundUpDate Annual Summer Crop Circle Winner Announced
Thanks to all of you who took time to enter our Annual WFCA RoundUpDate Summer Crop Circle Contest. As the summer growing season winds down, so do the crop circle appearances, leaving us at the RoundUpDate to tally the votes for our faithful readers’ favourite formation. The winning crop circle with the most votes appeared in a field of ripening wheat August 11 near Preston Candover in Hampshire, England. Thanks to everyone who entered. We would especially like to thank those of you who voted claiming to be from another dimension. Unfortunately, contest rules say you must be a resident of earth to participate. But we did appreciate you sending along those floating balls of light with your entries. They’re great, especially the way they keep mysteriously organizing our paper clips and pens into circles on our desks. But we were wondering how you turn them off. Can we let them outside?