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Four forestry initiatives currently underway have been developed through strategic partnerships with industry associations, employers, labour and WorkSafeBC safety representatives.
The new training program includes a student and instructor guide, a faller's logbook, and materials to perform a program evaluation. A video demonstrating the principles and practices of safe falling is also part of the curriculum. To ensure consistent, high quality training, instructor criteria and standards and supervisory quality checks have been developed. The new comprehensive certification process upgrades the knowledge of existing fallers as well as creates a generation of well-trained workers for the future.
For more information on the certification process, see the B.C. Faller Training Standard & Certification website at:
or call the B.C. Faller Training Standard & Certification Program at 1 877-741-1060.
FallSafe is a seminar that has been developed by WorkSafeBC Occupational Safety Officers (many of whom are ex-fallers from the Interior and Coastal regions) and United Steelworkers-Canada. It draws heavily on the basic safety programs and work principles that have worked so well for those who have experienced no accidents or very few accidents in their work lives. Focusing on the principle of making tree falling a safe occupation, the FallSafe presentations will drive home the point that fallers, supervisors, and other forest industry workers must not only understand, but also put into practice universal safety principles.
To date, the seminar has been presented in 15 locations throughout B.C. and has had over 1600 attendees. WorkSafeBC will be conducting further presentations as needed.
The companies participating in the pilot will be provided with an introductory information package, which will include baseline occupational health and safety program measurements such as the company's injury rate, the need for onsite safety meetings and the number of field visits each week. A weighted inspection list that includes standards and guidelines will be created for supervisors to use. As well, there will be a system whereby the collected data can be compared to the baseline data.
At the completion of the pilot, recommendations from the participating companies will be used to improve the program before it is offered to the rest of the industry.
Western Forest Products is partnering with Kwantlen Polytechnic University to test whether human factors training first devised to help U.S. military personnel identify enemy targets---and currently used to protect miners---has applications for fallers. The study, which has received funding from WorkSafeBC, is expected to be finished by September 2012. For more information, read the article "Out of the woods" from the July/August 2011 issue of WorkSafe Magazine.
More fallers are injured or killed at the stump of the tree being felled than in any other part of a forestry worksite. Weyerhaeuser and WorkSafeBC began meeting in June 2001 to examine the reality of meeting production needs using today's technology in the safest possible way. The team of engineers, occupational safety officers, fallers, and forestry and WorkSafeBC management are currently examining five potentially safe falling practices. They are:
These innovations will be tested in Interior and Coastal forests with the results incorporated into safe work practices that can be rolled out to the entire industry.