four times, or five times? How much discipline? Being fired –
sent home – What?
....Just like there could be careless work
persons in the logging industry – there could be careless or inex-perienced
managers in industry also. Remember – there’re a lot of
outfits. This point alone makes the question of a negotiated discipline
policy a very difficult one. It is doubtful if any union leader would
condone such a practice.
A camp manager – or whatever name the boss of the job goes by
– must be a lot of things to a lot of people – but he is
not on a school-principal-student relationship with all the people he
supervises. While the majority of managers may be able to sensibly cope
with discipline issues, there are some that could not, out of sheer
....I believe top management would be putting
their managers in jeopardy by asking for an across the board disciplining
allowance against careless workers.
....There are careless people in our industry
who do not watch what they are doing. They have to be handled in special
ways. They are a burden on any management, but they can be handled by
sensible, consistent management at camp level without the issue of discipline
going to the negotiating table.
....The issue of a union leader stating
that the worker cannot be blamed for his own accident is a bit more
complicated than it sounds.
....We know that the fatals endured by
this industry over its history contain the story of the same repeated
accident causes – chiefly, “a careless act.”
....A “careless act” is not
to be confused with a careless person. A “careless act”
happens to the most experienced of loggers as well as the new worker.
Is there anyone who has not committed a careless act? Speeding is a
careless act, jay walking is a careless act, as is lifting a heavy weight
the wrong way, yet people everywhere commit these acts daily in spite
of a thousand warnings.
....The issue of “blame” is
not really going to get us anywhere if we want to improve safety in
logging. It is the careless act – one moment of forgetfulness
– that generally accounts for tragic fatals. It is the need for
alertness and common sense, a real “self discipline” that
must be taught and repeated and repeated. How to teach it, in light
of all the good safety programs, is what is needed.
....In my years in this industry I have
met some very dedicated, safe, production people, in a variety of camps
and places. The industry has never wanted for such people, there simply
has never been enough of them. And while the leaders of the industry
– both union and management – have always wanted a safer
industry and were very aware of that need, I don’t believe they
always knew how to go about getting it.
Safety cannot be negotiated – it is a truly gut issue attached
to production that is only attained by sound, consistent, trusting,
well directed energy. Money won’t buy it – all the prizes
in the world won’t bring it to you or your company. It is obtainable
– but it is elusive.
a good manager
and willing crew
can make a
poorly organized camp produce,
....Just as a good manager – with
the co-operation of a willing crew – can take over a poorly organized
camp and with hard work and consistency turn the place into an organized,
safer work place, so, I believe, the leaders of this industry –
management and union – can
with unanimity of purpose
improve this industry’s overall safety performance.
....A concerted effort is needed to better
bring into focus, for people in our logging industry and the public, the
tragedy of our large number of fatals and serious accidents.
....It is certainly time to stop the defensive
attitudes on both sides and for the leaders to closet themselves together
and determine how to get to the root of our safety problems.
....The issue needs widespread reporting
without laying blame or penalty of discipline. It needs open discussion
as to hazards that loggers face daily in the woods. Only through a top
level committee of management and union can the issues be sensibly discussed
and expert advice sought.
....Patience and trust will be the main ingredients
of such a group, for no safety program ever worked overnight. With a wealth
of expertise from the Workers’ Compensation Board people and the
intelligent, dedicated safety supervisors already in the field of management
and union, there just has to be progress.
....It is time to stop the competition –
as it is time to stop being defensive about logging safety. The issues
are not for the bargaining table, they are for complete co-operative effort.
The winner is everyone.