Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
8 April 2022
Volume 22 Issue 05

Warning: In order to ensure you are not a robot please identify the paragraphs below that contain facts.  

WFCA Cost Calculator Available To Members as Concerns Grow Over Effects of Hyperinflation.

Not a good sign. In a recent poll almost a third of the planting employer respondents indicated workforce applicants were in decline: some precipitously. A number noted that applicants dried up completely once COVID restraints began lifting. With inflation high, workers hired this spring will not want to be paid with last year’s dollars according to contractors.

As impactful as the rising price of fuel is to forestry operations, it is only one of many costs that contractors face in the current hyper-inflation. So that WFCA members can budget appropriately the association has created a simple inflation calculating tool based on input from business owners. It allows users to track recent inflation’s effects on wages, fuel, food, camp operations, freight, accommodations, tree storage, truck rentals and other cost drivers by comparing last year’s costs with today’s. The arithmetic is simple. But the results have been startling according to contractors using the calculator. There is no universal inflationary price adjustment that should apply to all operators given the diversity of business models. Nevertheless, it is important that all owners properly recognize the costs they face to avoid over- or underestimating them. The tool is designed for contractors to use their own numbers as evidence of the risks they face and to justify adjusting prices due to inflation. The inflation calculator was sent out last week.

BC Chief Forester Leaves Post for Pellet Sector Position

BC Chief Forester Diane Nicholls announced this week that she will leave government at the end of the month to join Drax Group a UK global bioenergy supply business. Drax Group gained notice in BC last year with its purchase of Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. Nicholls will be in charge of sustainability for the corporation’s growing North American operations. She joined MFLNRORD in 2006 as the director of the then Forest Practices Branch. In 2014 she became acting Chief Forester and was confirmed by then Forest Minister Steve Thompson in 2016. As Chief Forester Nicholls has played a key role in our provincial government’s strategies amending forest legislation and developing management policies in the face of climate change, business uncertainties, indigenous reconciliation, and changing societal expectations of our forest landscape. She has proven to be an ally of the reforestation sector as Chief Forester and we believe she will remain so as a Vice President at Drax Group.

Digital Incident Reporting Training Sessions Available This Spring: Can We Eliminate Incident Reporting Sludge? 

The Forest Industry Reporting System (FIRS) Mobile Quick Add app may be a first step towards developing a constructive digital reporting culture based on simplified processes for field workers and managers. And it’s free.

One of the Holy Grails of workplace safety is to be able to recognize an incident before it happens. There is evidence that fulfilling this unlikely quest is possible. For instance, recently, a government safety manager reported wading through a year’s worth of his ministry’s incident reports. He found a conspicuous number of near misses and inspections involving improperly attached trailers. As an individual event, each incident was a weak signal. But seeing the events collectively—in this case by manually reading 800 paper pages of reporting—revealed a drift towards a serious trailer mishap. Alerts were sent out and the following year incidents involving trailers dropped close to nil. It is not unreasonable to infer that this trend indicated an accident on its way to happening. Fortunately, it was seen and prevented.

Besides the possible averted crash, three other things stand out in this example. First of all, the ministry was in the habit of reporting incidents, or at least some of them, which is helpful. Secondly, someone analyzed the information and acted accordingly, which is good. Thirdly, the reporters had to manually submit and the analyst had to manually read through all the paper to find the meaningful data, which is sludge. Sludge, of course, is the kind of thing we often find in systems that creates friction and frustrates people from participating in the process. That we still use paper-based reporting systems in many of our safety operations is sludge. That we rely on manually analyzing the data we collect—if we have time—when there is a world of computational capacity available, this too is sludge. We need a nudge in a better direction.

The Forest Industry Reporting System (FIRS) Mobile Quick Add App is a first step in simplifying and digitalizing our way out of the incident reporting sludge that companies contend with. If you need a nudge out of the sludge then take note of the free digital incident reporting training sessions planned this month starting next week. Click here to register.

You can download the app on Android APK or the Apple App Store.