nyone who has followed the scene on accident prevention policies in
our forest industry for some time would agree that the one phase of
the subject not understood by employees nor spoken about by management
to their employees, is the dollars and cents side of death and injury
on the job.
the bargaining table syndrome around in our handling of the causes and results of on-the-job accidents. There is still too much lip service paid to safety by those who hold the power in management and labor. Not that they speak it out of not caring – it’s simply that so many of them really don’t know what to do!
....Logging is a very hazardous business. Anyone who would try to mess around with that statement by soft peddling the subject is just not in the real world of logging. A moment’s forgetfulness can bring about tragic results. There is no safe logging camp for the potential lies out there in all of them, waiting for the forgetful or careless person. All logging sites are hazardous.
....I remember many years ago, talking with loggers from so-called big outfits about the advantages and disadvan-tages, safety-wise, of operating a small camp – let’s say a camp of forty persons compared to a camp of two hundred. We brought up a great many pertinent points concerning safety but the one that always impressed me the most was the ability of any camp large or small, to have a secure feeling about the place.
....Possibly ‘secure feeling’ is not the proper term, but it will have to do, for it means that the management and the work force – realizing the hazards of logging – have worked together over a length of time and have developed a self discipline that is based on caring that the job is done correctly, in a safe manner, and that sloppiness, horseplay and hangovers are not allowed on the job. Fairness is the key and that might mean that foremen drive pickups as they should be driven – carefully. It means that the workforce is informed about the job it is expected to do. And that no one is afraid or intimidated to speak up about an unsafe practice that was viewed.
....I can never remember whether large or small won the argument, for the winner could come from either if the secure feeling was there. I am happy to say I have seen it in both sizes.
|28 · BRITISH COLUMBIA LUMBERMAN · SEPTEMBER 1982
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )
with the company for over twenty years. He had only recently taken on a job with some fellow employees as part of a falling team. They paid their own W.C.B. assessments. He was talked about as “not our man” by the company personnel. All three cases and all different companies quoted the same phrase. I’d like to know just who the hell’s man he was – after 20 years at work!
....What has happened too often in such cases as above – if there is a serious accident of fatal – is simply that the leader of the small group cannot meet the heavy cost of such an accident. So – who pays? The rest of the industry.
....There are accidents today that can cost in excess of half a million dollars to a single person. This sum includes hospitalization, rehabilitation and pen-sion provisions. All this is paid out by the W.C.B., but is collected from the employer in the form of assessments. These assessments are based on a previous three year period of accident costs. With a good safe accident record, an employer can attain merit points and so reduce his costs considerably. Likewise, with a poor safety record his costs can increase considerably.
....W.C.B. assessments for any emp-loyer, large or small, is based on his payroll. A maximum wage level is developed for a given industry and an assessment of so much percentage of the total payroll is charged to employers in that industry.
....In the logging industry the basic assessments have increased over the past four years from a 1979 assessment of 8.8 percent of total payroll to 9 percent in 1980, to 10.8 percent in 1981, to 11.6 percent in 1982.
....A million dollar payroll is a common figure for even a twenty-five man camp these days. Figure what 11.6 percent of that amount is, for just a camp of average assessment. It is obvious that time and effort and money must be spent to develop a good safety policy that works if companies are to develop that secure feeling I spoke of.
....I’m not going to quote lengthy figure on safety and W.C.B. costs This infor-mation can be obtained from the W.C.B. The W.C.B. is a very large organization today, undergoing many changes to cope with these fast-paced times. It is criticized from all sides and no doubt rightly so at times because of its size.
....Labor continually cries that the Board is too pro-management and manage-ment feels the Board spends too much money unwisely. If ever there was a target for all comers to throw rocks at, the Workers Compensation Board is it.
And yet I know from past experience with safety people from other provinces that we have had the best form of workers Compensation in North America.
....We have a new five man board of Commissioners now who will undoub-tedly be making a lot of changes. Let us wish them well in their deliberations.
....There are many facets to the forest around us. The new technologies for wood extraction and use; the land use policies for forests; the ever difficult problems of labor and management; the
competitors product. The list
of faces to this industry is varied, but none can be as important as the
safety of the people who work at forestry jobs.
Keep out of the bight,
BRITISH COLUMBIA LUMBERMAN · SEPTEMBER 1982 · 29