........Comment by Bill Moore
...The forest around us
Lest we forget 1971 –
....Handling nitro-glycerine is a safe occupation if you know how and if you don’t forget the rules.
....All logging occupations are safe – if you know how – and if you don’t forget the rules.
....From the beginning of 1971 to the end of 1975 – a five year period – 245 loggers died from accidents in the logging industry of British Columbia. These tragic figures are compiled by the Workers compensation Board of B.C. They would have been higher in 1975 if the industry had not been closed down due to industrial strikes.
....The figures for 1976 are not complete
at this writing, but I hesitate and fear their truth in light of quite
a full logging year.
would be grounded pending an inves-tigation. We understand something about planes and pilots and fog and runways. We, the public, ride on airplanes, we are informed, and the media is on top of every incident when even a small plane comes down. We understand this aircraft industry because we are personally involved with it. No mystique there.
....But there is a mystique to the log-ging industry. This lack of under-standing of what really happens in the woods is not too difficult to under-stand. The public isn’t that interested, because the industry is complex, widespread, and differs from location to location. It is not a simple aircraft!
....And it is not going to get any easier
to describe. How do you tell people about the tangle of limbs and brush
and felled trees that a logger must crawl or walk through each day at
his job. Remember you are not describing mountain climbing when you
talk of loggers working on steep slopes or in rocky canyons. Describe
if you can – so everyone understands – the problems of a
log truck driver on steep grades or of a faller power-sawing down a
heavy leaning, 800 year old, eight-foot diameter cedar tree in a jungle
despair and bitterness at the tragedy of each fatal. To care about the safety of people working in hazardous terrain – spread out over thousands of acres – is not a job for the weak. It is a job for intelligent, thoughtful people who do understand the mystique.
....And all we can do, it seems, is hold
our own. Fifteen years of automation and modern logging methods have
not helped put down the death toll.
....How then to do better than to just hold the line with fatals? How can we impress the loggers themselves that the woods can be safe – that 50 men do not have to die each year? What more can the involved do than they have been doing to lower the tragedies? If the mystique can finally be presented to the public, can they in turn do anything? These are the problems of accident prevention that many dedicated people in this industry try so hard to solve. We know now – after the years of holding the line – there is no quick answer, no magic formula. But, we must keep trying and we must succeed or those statistics are a mockery to modern machines and a
|British Columbia Lumberman, January, 1977||
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panies join forces with our top union leaders, putting all past problems
aside, and dedicatedly state that they will jointly work together for
the achievement of fewer fatals.”
just happen to big companies, nor are all the men who die from accidents in the woods union members. But that does not matter. It is the industry that has the black mark of those 245 deaths in five years, and like others involved, they must reach out beyond themselves if a life can be saved.
....Careless acts, on the part of loggers, happen continuously in our woods. That is no condemnation of the logger. It is a hazardous industry! The mind must be alert and ready to react to danger. There must be a conscious-ness of these hazards. Logging con-tains many young inexperienced peo-ple today. It also contains many oldtimers who have come through so many close shaves they don’t believe their time will ever come. Like all gatherings of people, logging has its intelligent ones, its foolhardy ones, its commonsense ones, its worried ones, its part-time ones, and its plain good ones. Like anywhere else in the world it contains very few perfect people.
....The campaign, presented as outlined,
could give the industry and the public a far greater awareness of the
hazards loggers work under. By alerting the families of loggers, school
children and all the public of this province, we will reach the average
logger with more emphasis on his safe working habits than is now being
British Columbia Lumberman, January, 1977