cated people of our industry –
from many walks – that more have not died at their job.
....Logging is a hazardous industry.
And, the jobs in it have, at times, been held by people not qualified
for their work. They were sometimes protected by union security
and by a lack of replacements. Promotions have been given to unqualified
men only because of an inability to hire qualified personnel. It
should be noted that recession has changed some of the thoughts
....While the industry has always had
a good solid work force, it has in so many cases been the careless
acts of those not aware of the hazards about them that have caused
injuries to themselves or others.
....And yet who is to say that the
very atmosphere of waste they sometimes work in, is not a major
contributing factor to careless acts?
....The industry cries out for a better
safety record of lress fatals and less accidents. There are some
well orga-nized companies that constantly work hard for attaining
better and better safe working methods. But unforntunately there
are too many companies, groups and associations not paying enough
attention to their basic safety programs. Only more waste can be
expected if this trend continues.
....I cannot help wondering about the
sad episode of the “Nanaimo Group” (B.C. Lumberman Nov.
’81) that held new promise for standards of training for Coastal
Fallers. This group was formed to bring together union, mana-gement
and Workers’ Compensation
Board representatives to draw
up a set of standards for companies to follow in the training of
fallers in B.C.’s coastal forests.
....It seems the problem’s solution
was too much for some of the delegates to handle and the project
was shelved for thec time being. Were those meetings of important
people in our industry a waste too? I certainly hope not, for we
shall need those standards of training. Possibly moreso than ever
now. We change very gradually in this industry. Oh, yes our machines
change from steam to diesel and from hand saws to chain saws and
from wooden spars to grapple yarders, but sometimes we don’t
change as fast as our machines. And that inability to change our
attitudes toward how to make this industry a safer place is costing
– and costing plenty!
....Many of the larger companies and
some smaller ones, have been able to avoid high cost Workers’
Compen-sation payments by contracting out the various high hazard
occupations such as falling and yarding and loading etc. These costs
then fall on the shoulders of the small contractor. If this contractor
has a high cost WCB fatal or accident and he can’t pay his
assessment, he can declare bankruptcy and the cost is shared by
the entire industry.
....All this is well and good for the
victim, for he is what really counts. However the prime company
isn’t liable for high WCB costs because the small contractor
has taken the risk. One has to hope that there is a good safety
dialogue between the prime company and the contractor and his employees.
....Two things are driving up the
costs of accidents and fatals in our industry. The rapidly escalating
cost of hospital and administration needed for patients and our
inability to cope with the lessening of accidents and fatals.
....Our basic WCB assessments rise
because of these two factors and one has to wonder if the business
of con-tracting Out really lessens the over all cost to the prime
company? Time will tell.
....One thing is certain –
there is still no substitute for talent and training – in
this industry or any other. Some industries go to great lengths
to search for talent, and train their work force. The forest industry
has never been noted for vying for leadership in this race. We
seem more interested in continuing the allowable waste syndrome
and hoping for a better tomorrow.
....This industry is beset by many
problems today. Some are not for us to solve – such as quotas
or tariffs on our forest products. But, to some of the problems
we still hold the key. And the rewards for a safer logging sector
of the forest industry can be very tangible.
....However, it takes a lot of work.
And people have to pull together. And standards have to be found.
And there must be no lip service.
....It is possible to have a safer
industry. Or should we keep on wasting?
Keep out of the bight,