WorksafeBC have identified Forestry work as one of the four main industries at high risk of serious workplace injuries and therefore contributing to the serious injury rate.
The 2021-2023 Forestry High Risk Strategy (HRS) is a comprehensive prevention strategy to address workplace safety in forestry operations. The intent of the Forestry HRS is to execute focused and impactful inspectional activity in those areas of the timber harvesting segment that represent exceptional risk to workers. ¹
Identified high risk work activities typically fall into five areas of operations:
- Manual tree falling
- Log transportation
- Cable yarding
- Mechanized harvesting (primary focus will be on steep slope and tethered/winch-assist operations in 2021–2023)
In addition to the five main focus areas, which are based on different harvest phases and related activities, emergency response planning (ERP) has also been identified as a critical target area for the Forestry HRS because of a number of serious ERP failures documented at forestry workplaces through incident investigations. ²
As a result of the continuing high injury rate in hand falling, a dedicated inspection team is being deployed. They will focus on high injury rates, consistent high risk injuries, and/or poor compliance rates amongst employers involved in manual tree falling.
The goals of the 2021-2023 HRS are to:
- Promote commitment to sustained compliance through proper planning and execution of work
- Promote a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all workplace parties
- Enhance focus on employers with repeat or high-risk violations
- Promote effective phase integration to address risks that are compounded by having multiple harvesting phases within a single operating area
- Hearing loss prevention
- Construction-related roadside debris
- New in 2022: Focus on hand falling and supervision to ensure that workers and employers have appropriately assessed the risks and implemented appropriate controls to safely manage these risks and ensure the work is supervised in an effective manner (see Site Inspections for manual falling operations: What to expect and how to prepare) ³
Results So Far
Over the four quarters of 2020 WorksafeBC met and surpassed their target for inspections (124%). They carried out 2,343 inspections, exceeding their intended 1,894. Throughout this period, they issued 918 Orders, 135 Orders with potential high-risk violations, 20 warning letters, 13 citation warnings, 20 stop use orders, 2 stop work orders and imposed 9 penalties. ⁴
Over the four quarters of 2021 WorksafeBC met and exceeded their target for inspections (119%). They carried out 2,133 inspections, surpassing their intended 1,786. Throughout this period, they issued 1,264 Orders, 139 Orders with potential high-risk violations, 28 warning letters, 35 citation warnings, 4 stop work orders, 10 temporary cessation of work orders and imposed 11 penalties. ⁵
The information available shows that so far in 2022 (Q3) WorksafeBC have inspected 1,376 of their 1,666 target. They have issued 793 Orders, 80 Orders with potential high-risk violations, 10 warning letters, 6 citation warnings, 5 stop work orders, 2 temporary cessation of work orders and imposed 6 penalties. ⁶
The Forestry page of the WorksafeBC website offers many great resources that have been brought together by WorksafeBC. These cover many different subjects, log transportation; manual falling and bucking; mechanical harvesting, yarding and skidding; tree planting and other silviculture.
Each subject leads to many, many helpful videos, pdfs, checklists, booklets and pamphlets.
Visit the page at: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/industries/forestry
Additional information and resources are available from Worksafe BC’s industry partner, the BC Forest Safety Council.
1, 2, 3 – https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/what-we-do/high-risk-strategies/forestry
4, 5, 6 – https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/what-we-do/high-risk-strategies/forestry/updates-and-results