Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
17 May 2019
Volume 19 Issue 7

Warning: Some facts contained in this edition may have been shortened in consideration of the impending long weekend

WFCA Board of Directors Revises Members’ Code of Conduct for Approval

WFCA Code of Conduct

The old WSCA Code of Ethics dated back to the creation of reforestation in B.C. It needed some modernizing.

Western Forestry Contractors’ Association members will vote at their 2020 AGM in Prince George next year to revise their bylaws and approve a new Code of Conduct. The draft revisions approved this week by the WFCA Board of Directors, lay out how members should treat their workers, their clients, the public and their competitors. The revised Code in part reflects the recent amalgamation of the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association and the Consulting Foresters of BC by recognizing requirements for forest professionals. The old WSCA Code of Ethics, made in the early 90s, also predated significant subsequent changes to the Employment Standards Regulation that brought into law specific accommodations and duties regarding piece work payment. The new Code of Conduct aligns better with current values and emerging priorities. To read the WFCA Board of Directors decision note and the proposed Code of Conduct click here.

BC Wildfire Service Contract Advisory Committee First Meeting This Month

The joint WFCA and BC Wildfire Service steering committee has announced its proposed Wildfire Service Contract Advisory Committee (WSCAC) will meet later this month to agree on its terms of reference, identify goals and objectives and outline a preliminary workplan. In an initial letter of intent released in March this spring the parties described the purpose of the committee “to provide wildfire contractors and the BCWS an opportunity to collectively address lessons, feedback and challenges to strengthen wildfire preparedness and response in British Columbia.” The first task before the committee will be, in part, to break that mission into goals and objectives focusing on contractor wildfire services competence, worker safety and business sustainability. BCWS has accepted the three members of the committee recommended by the WFCA including Niels Jorgensen, Strategic Natural Resources Consultants Inc., Doug Harrison, Apex Forest and Wildfire Services and the WFCA Executive Director. A fourth contractor representative will be selected by BCWS from outside of the WFCA membership. BCWS will provide members from their operations executive and regional fire centres.

Failing to Chock Truck Wheels Costs Four Forest Workers Their Lives Over Last Year

WFCA Chock Truck Wheels width=

A recent cluster of driver deaths have been connected to failing to chock wheels when working on vehicles on roadsides. (The BCFS on the chock stands for BC Forest Safety not the BC Ferry Service; we want you to believe…)

Don’t let it roll and don’t let it fall down are two critical safety axioms when working on mobile equipment. Those rules seem straightforward, yet in the last year four forestry workers have died having been run over or trapped under their trucks while working on them. In all cases the wheels were not chocked. In one case the parking brake was applied, but the vehicle still slid back on an icy uphill grade dragging the worker. In all cases the drivers were making repairs to the vehicle while in the field. Two vehicles were logging trucks and two were pickups. Full investigations by the Coroner are still underway on two of the deaths. But the conclusion seems obvious: after you have applied the parking break; put the automatic transmission in park; always chock your wheels so the vehicle stays put.

Wildfire Smoke Exposure as Cause of Occupational Disease Recognized in New Law

Legislation is in the works to expand the definition of firefighter to include wildfire fighting. Bill 18 which is expected to receive Royal Assent in the next few weeks will allow presumption of injury in relation to occupational diseases, and mental disorders to be addressed under the Workers Compensation Act Section 6.1 and 5.1. In terms of smoke exposure, Section 6.1 of the WCA sets out the cumulative periods of exposure for specific cancers. Read more here.

WFCA Urges Minister to Fund and Implement Forest Inventory Review Recommendations

Last year MFLNRORD Minister Doug Donaldson announced a panel would review the BC Forest Inventory Program in response to concerns that we were losing track of our forest resource. Now that the review is completed the WFCA is urging our government to implement its 16 recommendations. To read the WFCA letter