November 18, 2016
Volume 16, Issue 20

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WSCA Annual 2017 Conference: How Well Does Our Sector Understand Working with Young Workers?

What do respectful relations between men and women look like in the silviculture work place and camp?

What do respectful relations between men and women look like in the silviculture work place and camp?

The WSCA Annual Conference and Tradeshow Wednesday 1 February 12:30 pm to 5:00 will include presenters, panelists and a discussion forum on health and safety in the silviculture sector.

Presenter: Dr. Jordan Tesluk: How Well Are We Really Doing On Safety?

The majority of workers in the silviculture sector are young. With that go particular skills and attitudes to working with them. Long time silviculture sector researcher Dr. Jordan Tesluk spent part of this spring in the field surveying and talking with silviculture workers and noticing things in general. Some of his observations may run counter to the assumptions many employers may hold about how well they treat young workers. He has documented the stressful effects of production pressure on rookies. He also notes that young workers may have a lower tolerance for large obvious risks. But they neglect their own individual welfare in terms of hygiene and equipment. Dr. Tesluk also lets the air out of the idea that young workers behave the way they do because they haven’t grown a full set of brains. He will present the results of his studies this spring on young workers and how well we are doing as an industry when it comes to sustaining traction on becoming healthier and safer as a sector.

Panel: Workplace Harassment and Bullying

New workplace regulation on harassment, and broad societal concerns, in particular about how women are treated, affect the silviculture sector. A workforce that comprises young workers, almost half of them women, working in remote locations, has the circumstances that, without employer leadership and good examples, could lead to problems. In fact allegations, some of them criminal, have crossed our desk over the years (two this year). Finding just where and how employers have to land on this matter is complex. It includes human resource issues, occupational health and safety regulation and, in the worst case, the criminal code. Our panel and forum on this topic intends to make a first step in sorting out the duties of employers and in particular, sorting out the elements that define healthy and respectful camps and crews.

Presenter: Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris; Emergency Preparedness

By the time we hold the conference Roger Harris will have released his report on emergency response for seriously injured workers on remote forestry work sites in British Columbia. Since he began work on this report last year it has become even more obvious how inadequate the status quo is when it comes to responding to injuries where distance and access are factors. More stories have come forward of long delays in dealing with life threatening injuries. There is evidence that there are problems with response agencies. And employers, as well, may have to take a more critical look at how competently they can deal with an emergency. Harris will review his report’s recommendations and how they could affect the silviculture sector.

Presenter: Glenn Budden Transportation Safety Board; Marine Transportation

Almost all the worst tragedies and close calls in the B.C. silviculture sector have involved water. Marine transportation then is one key area where crews are vulnerable. Making sense of the hazard and coming up with recommendations to reduce risks involving moving workers on water is the challenge facing the recently convened Marine Transportation Working Group (MTWG). Glenn Budden is a senior marine investigator at the Transportation Safety Board and a member of the MTWG. He also has a history of involvement with investigations involving vessels and silviculture crews. He will give a summary of work being done with the working group and its impacts on silviculture employers.

And that’s not all. There’s more at the conference on health and safety:

Training: We will be offering training prior to, and just after the conference including danger tree assessor training 30 and 31 January 2017. Light truck driver training on the same dates. And ATV/UTV operator on the following weekend 4 and 5 February 2017. All these offerings are subject to a minimum number of participants. JRP Solutions will also conduct workshops on recent developments in their data management systems on Tuesday 31 January and Wednesday morning 1 February.

Workshops and Booths: We will also sponsor a workshop on drug and alcohol programs, with a particular view to the recent trend of clients prescribing requirements of contractor employees. WorkSafeBC will also hold a workshop on claims management for silviculture firms.

For updates on the 2017 WSCA conference program and for more information on registering go to