t has taken a long time, but a ray of light is shining through on our
logging safety problems. It is not a greatly heralded program, nor is
it the great cure-all for accident prevention. It is simply a ray of
light on the always dark subject of logging safety.
....This ray of light is the determination
of a group of serious people from man-agement, union and the Workers’
Com-pensation Board who have met over the past year to explore new and
better safe production methods in our B.C. logging industry.
....When we look back on the past 25 years
of logging safety progress, we really find little change in the manner
that accident prevention has been handled throughout our industry. This
is not to say that progress has not been made. Of course it has and
we can thank the good dedicated safety committees, managers, union committees
and various safety administrators all over the province.
....Progress in logging safety does not
chart like a salesman’s daily sales program. It is an elusive
and erratic chart that cannot be truly gauged on the short term, but
only in the long term can we see the results.
....The safety programs we have used, have
nearly all been at the camp level, and when a camp of dedicated people
have determined that they will improve their safety performance, they
have done so by sheer determination.
....Logging is still as hazardous as it
always was, but automation has helped a bit, in certain places, to make
the hazards less dangerous. Undoubtedly the job training programs that
have come into being in these later years have helped, and the increased
inspections of W.C.B. prevention officers, together with W. C. B. expanded
training and teaching programs have certainly
helped too. Their new
The Nanaimo Group is convinced that the logging
industry can improve its accident and fatals record.
Loading Handbook is a “must read” for any
logger from bullcook to president!
....One could say we have progressed in our
quest for a safer industry – but we still have a long, long way
to go. How can it be done?
....The past results of say 25 years have
shown us that logging safety is a successful as a joint venture between
management and labor, at camp level, if it is a determined, continuous
pro-gram. The program fails when one side or the other let down their
guard and allows the tell-tale warnings of careless acts to slip by unnoticed.
....Unfortunately, the logging com-panies
that operate on the rugged coast of B.C., where the hazards are compounded,
have long since moved away from a co-ordinated logging safety program
to individual company programs. The interior of the province has some
co-ordinated programs, but far from what could be considered industry-wide.
....True there are and have been occa-sional
meetings involving top manage-ment and union leaders – but they
have been and are too few and generally limited to safety award dinners
etc. The avenue of real co-operation and real impetus, for better accident
prevention, has not been used as it should have been, between the leaders
of management and union. I would challenge anyone who would care to debate
....I have known those in near-top
management who really do not want to see the leaders
sit down together on safety issues. They worry that some management
leaders may not be familiar with the technical aspects of logging accident
prevention – on the other side, there have been those in the union
that would use the safety issue to make management look bad.
....There is so much emotionalism often
associated with safety aspects – I know of no other topic in forestry
that can bring out the defensive attitudes in people. Read some of the
letters to the editor in past union papers and the topic of safety is
discussed in brutal language. Listen, as I have, to those in management,
who to this day, defend everything and anything that their company does
as the only way in safety.
....Listen to a group of loggers, such
as a yarding crew, talking in a crummy, as they eat their lunch and
you’ll hear emotional talk on safety – of the ‘near
misses that damn near took his head off.’
....Read the headlines of the daily papers
as city reporters try to write about logging safety and the W.C.B. There’s
some great emotionalism there.
....You don’t generally find the
emotionalism in a safety meeting of a camp that has a proper accident
prevention program. This is where people understand the issues and can
discuss them with a view to solving problems as they arise.
....The logging industry needs all the
help it can get in accident prevention, but above all else, it needs
under-standing. The hazardous conditions of logging must be clearly
understood. The problems in dealing with hazards must be clearly understood
by a sympathetic, well informed public –