far too soon.
Logging safety took a large step backward when this en-deavor
was allowed to degenerate and I’m sure we are paying
some of the consequences today.
....No forest company, large
or small, is an island when it comes to safe pro-duction.
If we are ever to have a safer industry, it will come about,
not by one company achieving high safety such results.
....As it is now, we have some
com-panies with fine records and others with all degrees from
good to poor. We have many who show absolutely no desire to
really work at safe pro-duction except when a compensation
inspector comes around. And these visits can often be far
apart because of the broad geography of the industry and the
continuing need for more inspectors.
....It bears repeating –
compensation inspectors won’t bring safe production,
instant or otherwise. They can only do their job, and from
what I’ve seen, they do it well despite their handicap.
....Safety is as elusive as a
shadow, as difficult to hang onto as a cloud and as hurtful
as a sledgehammer. No one has an option on it, or ever will
have, as long as men’s brains forget even for a second.
....Yet, I have never heard anyone
in this industry talk about a real long range view of our
safety programs. We do such things with our reforestation
programs, our machinery programs and our five and ten year
logging plans. There are enough graphs and maps on the walls
of logging company engi-neering offices to keep a paper mill
going, but I have yet to hear anyone suggest how a ten year
forecast of accident prevention would look, or the projected
costs of such a thing.
....Accident costs today are
enormous and ever growing. One hears heated discussion everywhere
about the causes. I am not entering into that discussion at
this writing because I firmly believe that the one sure and
realistic way to bring down these ever increasing costs is
to have a better accident prevention program in our industry.
....But it is not good enough
that just a few companies pay attention to their safety programs.
All must – because we are all charged on the same account.
True, the companies that have excellent records get help from
a merit system,
as well they should.
But the basic rates apply to all, and it is in the interest of the
excellent to also see to it that the laggards pull up their britches
and really work at safety.
....There are many different areas
of logging in our province. The coast terrain is different from
much of the interior, and often the methods differ. But as long
as loggers use chain saws and logging trucks and loaders and skidders
and tractors, there is a com-mon denominator in safe production
that can and ought to be adhered to.
....I don’t believe we can afford
to continue with our old safety ideas of each one trying on his
own. And I don’t believe that a third party such as our Workers’
Compensation Board can act as teacher to loggers or mill men. This
is no slur on the WCB or its capable field people.
....I believe that we in this industry
have reached a maturity where the two concerned parties involved
in safety can handle their own accident prevention programs right
from the top. If it will work at camp level, then it should work
from on high. And I believe such programs can be affordable, and
most important of all, save accidents and lives. I would therefore
present for your thoughts the following:
....A new accident prevention asso-ciation
should be formed called The British Columbia Forest Accident Prevention
Association. It could follow these guidelines:
....1. The board of directors should
be made up equally of management and the union and be chaired alternately
by one or the other each year.
....2. for the present time the association
should confine its guidelines to the logging and milling portion
of the industry where the accidents and fatalities are most prevalent.
....3. A staff of instructors well
versed in the various phases of logging and milling should be set
up and stationed at strategic towns or areas in the province, dependent
on a forest economy. The head office of the association should be
situated in Vancouver.
....4. The association should have
a well chosen manager. He should be a highly qualified administrator,
not necessarily a “safety man.” He should have a good
grasp of B.C.’s forest industry.
....5. The WCB should abandon its role
in accident prevention and confine itself
to claims and rehabilitation.
It would, of course work closely with the new association.
....6. The project should be funded two thirds
by management and one third by union.
....7. Individual companies should retain
their own accident prevention departments that would co-ordinate with
the new association.
....8. The B.C. government should make joining
such an organization compulsory for all logging and milling companies.
In this manner those com-panies outside of the organized asso-ciations,
such as COFI and many others, would also contribute toward a safer industry
with their dues.
....I’m sure there will be union people
who will not feel it is their place to contribute money to such an asso-ciation,
saying it is the employers’ place to pay for accident prevention.
I would remind them that loggers once paid into the WCB. If it’s
promoted with a mature attitude, it can be emphasized that it is the logger’s
life at stake and he should be aware that he is paying dues to procure
for himself the best accident prevention program in North America run
by his union and his management.
....Some employers will possibly feel such
an association is just another cost burden to already heavy costs. I say,
“Who better than our top people in management and union to directly
guide the cause of accident prevention in our very hazardous logging and
....There can be no bargaining tactics used
in such a group, for such an association must be entered into in trust
and with the knowledge that both management and union are motivated by
....We must be a more conscious in-dustry
and we must become a safer industry if we are to expect intelligent young
people to want to work in our industry.
....A British Columbia Forest Accident Prevention
Association could give us a safer industry – and it could be affordable.
Keep out of the bight,