RICHMOND, B.C. — WorkSafeBC has released a new three-year plan to help employers reduce serious injuries in the forestry sector through more focused inspections. The 2018-2020 Forestry High-Risk Strategy is a renewed commitment for prevention activities in harvesting and related operations.
“The intent of the forestry high-risk strategy is to implement focused and effective inspections in those areas of the timber harvesting sector that have the most risk to workers,” said Dan Strand, director of prevention field services for WorkSafeBC. “Our goal with the high-risk strategies is simple — to reduce the number of serious injuries.”
Identified high-risk work activities typically fall into five areas of timber harvesting:
- Manual tree falling
- Log transportation
- Cable yarding
- Mechanized harvesting
In addition to the five main areas, emergency-response planning has also been identified as a critical target area for the forestry high-risk strategy.
According to WorkSafeBC the serious injury rate in the forestry sector is much higher than the average in other sectors. In 2016, the serious injury rate in forestry was 1.2 per 100 person-years of employment, compared to 0.3 across all sectors in B.C.
In 2016, there were 13 fatal workplace incidents involving forestry workers (based on the classification units that comprise the forestry high-risk strategy).
Due to the continuing high injury rate in hand falling, a dedicated inspection team will focus on employers with high injury rates and/or poor compliance rates.
The seasonal nature of forestry work is also incorporated into the forestry strategy. Officers in different regions of the province will continue to have the latitude to shift their inspection activity to reflect seasonal work.
WorkSafeBC’s high-risk strategies identify and target industries and employers with a high risk of serious workplace injury and a significant contribution to the serious-injury rate. High-risk strategies include four industry sectors: construction, forestry, health care and manufacturing.
More information about the forestry high-risk strategy, including 2018 deliverables and timelines, is available at worksafebc.com.