........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

The enemy: the chain saw

....It is a marvelous tool, possibly one of the best examples of modern technology that has come to the forest worker around the world. And yet the chain saw is directly or indirectly in-volved in 30 per cent of the fatal acci-dents that have occurred in the log-ging industry in British Columbia over the past many years.
....In reading over the always grim figures on fatals in the logging industry for 1977, one notes that 36 persons were killed in on-the-job accidents in B.C. Of that figure, 11 deaths occur-red with the use of a chain saw, either by falling trees, bucking logs or some related use. And in looking back over the past five years, the statistics do not change.
....Something is seriously wrong with the teaching process, or the common usage of this powerful little machine, and I would suspect in too many cases the saw is not given the respect it requires for safe usage.
....Using the serious fatal figure, one would have to presume that the accidents caused by the chain saw must be very high. For now, not only loggers use the tool, but the general public also makes wide use of it for many purposes. And yet I do not recall a concerted campaign in periodicals or elsewhere on the proper use and care of the chain saw. It would seem more than appropriate that such a campaign were set forth.
....I was always impressed when visi-ting the Ontario Forest Products Acci-dent Prevention Association group in that province, and watching their approach to the training of forest workers with chain saws. I found with this group of very dedicated forest safety supervisors a much different emphasis being placed on “the man


and his chain saw.” In the field, or should I say forest, these supervisors point out to the forest worker the imperative need for quality control in production through a safe and guarded approach to the tree to be felled, bucked or limbed.
....I noted in Ontario five years ago the requirement of not only wearing hard hat and proper ear protection, but also a very important face screen that fits on the hard hat and can be flipped back when not needed. We see some of these face screens out here in B.C. now, but certainly not enough is yet known about them. They will protect the eyes and face from flying gravel, chips or dust in a very effective manner and yet give freedom from the sweating effect of goggles.
....I noted also with this Ontario group, who supervise woods safety for all the camps in the province, the insistence of wearing knee pads, gloves and proper clothing. These requirements are a part of our very good Workers Compen-sation Regulations here in B.C. also.
....But of special interest to me at that time was the instruction given to chain saw operators in their method of falling. Proper undercuts were demanded and measurements were made to show the worker the need for a full sized under-cut. The use of measurements left no guesswork to the falling of a tree and set a pattern for the fallers work day.
....The Ontario Forest Safety group has used Loggers Sports to bring home to the forest worker the exacting methods required to productively and safely fell a tree. In small and large Loggers Sports contests throughout Ontario, groups of loggers will meet to compete against each other in the accurate felling of trees – on a peg or given line. This use of Loggers Sports is therefore car-

ried out into the work place for the betterment of all concerned.
....I wrote last fall in the B.C. Lumberman of a visit to Finland with some of our Champion Loggers, and of the European Chain Saw contests our chaps were involved in. Apart from the competitive fun of the contest, there is an underlying useful-ness of such gathering both to the worker and to the industry as a whole.
....I noted in Finland the extensive use of the face guard as well as ear protection and hard hat. We saw the type of clothing used was designed for the logger – to fit neatly about him, to be weather-proof and to be practical. The color of the clothing was bright so the man can be seen in dark green foliage.
....Of interest in the European games apart from the accurate felling of trees was the procedure of limbing. This was done to a method with all limbs being cut smooth to the trunk of the tree. As a result we noticed that loads of logs on trucks were perfectly round with no stubs sticking out. Demerits were given at the Loggers Sports for any protrusion of a limb from the trunk.
....As I had mentioned in the fall, 17 nations were represented at the Fin-land Chain Saw Contest, and the teams of forest workers from all those nations were well trained operators concerned with productivity, speed and quality control. I’m sure any representative of any safety group, compensation board or industry executive would have been proud to see such competence and profession-alism in the landing of a tree on its way to market. And such methods could only help to reduce the number of chain saw related accidents by being
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British Columbia Lumberman, May, 1978

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so professional.
....In the coastal logging area of B.C. we have a unique forest of large trees and steep and brushy ground. This is a far more difficult area for the safe felling, bucking and limbing of trees than most other parts of Canada or other parts of the world. But I would remind my coastal colleagues that coastal big trees represent only about one sixth of Canada’s forests – whereas the other five sixths are of the smaller size and therefore not as difficult to fell.
....Sometimes when I see our coastal loads of logs with broken shattered ends and limbs sticking out midst the load, I am reminded of the nice neat loads of smooth round logs we saw in Finland. We on the coast can stand a far better quality control in spite of our difficult terrain.
....There has lately come into the scene a new way to beat the high accident and fatal record of chain saw related incidents. And that is the ever increasing use of mobile machine fellers. Across the land in areas acces-sible to them, the big mobiles are moving in and eliminating so much of the chain saw work.
....I had an interesting visit to the Okanagan area of B.C. in April as a guest of Northwood Company’s safety seminar for their logging contractors. Fred Stinson, their logging manager told me that mobile felling machines now account for 80 per cent of the felling done in their area. This figure is being repeated in many parts of Canada now – and so it is to be hoped that our accident rate in the felling category will decrease.
....The chain saw has been in major use for the past 25 to 35 years. It is and has been a wonderful instrument in the advancement of forest products. It will still be with us for years to come in spite of the big mobile fellers. We still must remember that as well built as our saws are – they can be the enemy of the forest worker if not used in a proper procedure. The past results speak very clearly in the deaths and accidents of forest workers related to chain saw use.
....The men who work daily in the fores around us need the help of a
greater awareness to the inherent dangers of the chain saw when not used in a proper fashion. Our Workwers Compensation rules are quite explicit in their text as to correct procedure. I do believe we need a greater emphasis placed on those procedures, to save lives, prevent accidents, to give quality control to a very necessary and hazardous job – the job of felling, bucking and limbing of our logging forests.
.........................Keep out of the bight,
..........................................Bill Moore
British Columbia Lumberman, May, 1978  
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