The dedicated....

by Bill Moore....


....The first job, in the woods of northern Ontario, that Earl Craig had was emptying the septic tank at camp – with a bucket, and transferring the ingredients to a horse drawn wooden tank that was hauled to the bush.
....“My father was the superintendent at the camp and he told me there would be no favoritism for me, that I would start with the worst job. I did!”
....Earl Craig is one of too few men in Canada’s forest industry. He belongs to what I consider an elite group, the dedicated people who teach, instruct and reason with forest workers about the need for safe production in our industry. – but there are just not enough of them. The year end cold statistics from B.C. to the east coast prove our need for more training, more instructors and consistent better supervision.
....Here in British Columbia 47 fatalities occurred in on-the-job acci-dents in the logging industry alone. Add to this another 16 deaths from sawmilling, ply-wood and pulp mills and we find 63 fatalities in the forest industry in this province in 1978 – a terrible cost in human suffering – an intolerable cost in every count.
....What can be done? What has caused the sudden climb in logging fatalities from 36 in 1977 to 47 in 1978? I’m sure that an outsider looking at such drastic statistics would say, “Is anybody doing anything about it – and what are they doing?”
....Yes, there are people trying to do something about it and results are being accomplished in many individual places – but the overall figures of the industry are disastrous and need very serious looking into.
....At this writing I have just returned from Thunder Bay, Ontario, where I was the guest of the Forest Products Accident Prevention Association of Ontario. This association, made up of most of the logging and sawmilling


firms of that province, employs over a dozen trained safety instructors who live in various parts of the forested areas of Ontario. They are bilingual and conduct training and instruction programs out in the bush, in the camps, sawmills and at seminars.
EARL CRAIG, field services manager, Forest Products Accident Prevention Association of Ontario. Photo courtesy of FPAPA

....I have come to know many of these men over the years and have a very high regard for their approach to job safety instruction and their knowledge of the ever serious problems they deal with to teach accident prevention to forest workers.
....The board of directors of FPAPA is composed of managers and owners of large and small logging and sawmilling companies throughout Ontario. They meet regularly throughout the year and set policy for the staff and once a year meet for their annual conference in North Bay, Sault St. Marie, or as this year, in Thunder Bay. The outgoing president this year was Tom Woolings of Woolings Forest Products Ltd. of Englehart. His successor is Leo P. Andre of St. Andrews West. These are both busy forest com-munities in Ontario. The staff of FPAPA use North Bay as home base and Jim Nugent is the very capable manager of


the organization.
....Earl Craig is field services manager and has traveled many forest paths since his boyhood days of the septic tank job. He worked the great river drives on the upper Ottawa river as tugboat deckhand, engineer and cap-tain. He was “Cookie” on the drives themselves working from the shore or on a log raft with a tent for a cook-house, dishing up beans and coffee for the tough river-drivers. He’s been a timber cruiser, a scaler and a tractor operator handling convoys of pulp wood sleighs over the snow covered land to the river banks. A well traveled forest worker is Mr. Craig.
....He was working in Thunder Bay for Northern Forest Products about 10 years ago as a supervisor when he answered an ad in the newspaper for a safety instructor job with his present outfit.
....If I had only known – as a super-visor – what I learned the first couple of months in working with a safety association, I could have prevented so many accidents. I loved the job right from the start. I learned that if I could instruct supervisors to consistently seek safe production for their camp or plant, their production would go up, morale would go up and attitude would go up. The whole operation improves.
....That is the key to men like Earl Craig – the dedicated safe production teachers. They don’t waste time with fancy gimmicks or unrealistic statistics. They go out on the job and discuss with the working people just what a chain saw is all about, how to look after it, how to properly fell a tree and how to look after “Number One” in the hazards of a forest operation or a millsite.
....Earl and I have spent many hours discussing safe production. Naturally there are differences in the systems of logging on coastal B.C. and the forests

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British Columbia Lumberman, June, 1979

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of Ontario, but in talking about train-ing, supervision and attitudes it really matters little just what part of Canada’s forest industry you are on to. Thirteen loggers died in the oper-ations covered by FPAPA in 1978, a slight increase over 1977. Many more died in B.C. but the difference in rugged terrain and also there being more forest workers in B.C. makes us realize that really the basic problem is the same, namely – not enough safe production training and not enough consistent good supervision.
....To achieve these needed goals we are going to have to change the attitudes of many people in Canada’s forest industry and not just the forest worker. A lot of bosses, managers, union leaders, presidents and the like are going to have to look at the fatal statistics of B.C. and Ontario (I don’t have Quebec’s) and decide whether they want to perpetuate the current methods or chance being legislated into drastic action. And I believe the legislators will soon have to react if they don’t see some progress.
....For men like Earl Craig to achieve what they know is possible – a safer forest industry – I believe the following will have to take place – co-ordinated industry training programs in all phases of logging and sawmilling. In British Columbia most large firms have opted to do their own training on-the-job. This simply does not work in all cases. Particularly in logging, many loggers are still transient and may work for half a dozen outfits in a year. Certainly the specialty jobs of big machines would require special “in-company training,” but the basic skills, particularly in logging, should be taught under one co-ordinated scheme and it has good guidelines in B.C. to go by in the WCB regulations.
....There must be better standards set for supervisors. Too many such men are in the position of supervisor and really are not equipped for the job. They lack the attitude themselves to handle a crew and they too often overlook or fail to care that infractions of safe production are going on.
....Those individual companies that have attained good safe production standards and have the statistics to prove it should not be satisfied. These are the very kind of people who should be out in the industry helping others, for there are no laurels to rest on in safety. The job never ends and the slightest set-back must be met with cold determination to make things better.
....It may take common sense – or it may take coercion – or it may take legislation. Whatever it takes, I firmly believe that for the overall good of our forest industry there must be a co-ordinated province-wide Forest Indus-try Accident Prevention scheme. And it must have the best of trainers and instructors and a policy board behind it that is prepared and determined that fatals and accidents can be reduced through sound, sensible, co-ordinated safe production training.
....Across Canada, in her forest areas there are men and women who are not satisfied with the present status quo of fatals and accidents. These people will

never be satisfied, for they are the dedicated. Whether they live in Pembrook or Penticton – in Thunder Bay or Alberni, they know we can reduce fatals and accidents. But it will first take the initiative at the top, sound financing and dedicated, consistent and long-range programming if real results are to be achieved.
....Attitudes must change – and they can change – just ask the Earl Craigs. Look around, you just might have such a needed person near you.
....We need all the help we can get.

Keep out of the bight,
Bill Moore

British Columbia Lumberman, June, 1979  
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