Objective – to maintain an attitude toward the job and fellow workers that is second to none and to be the safest falling and bucking department in the company.
by Bill Moore
everyone. We care about the safety of each other.
....“Safety meetings are held regularly and we have an annual fallers’ award night at a local steak house that our wives attend. Also our power saw mech
.... That’s the way the fallers talk and think at MacMillan Bloedel’s Port McNeill division. And in the high risk job of falling coastal timber in B.C., one would have to say – they’ve got the right stuff.
....I recently had the pleasure of spending an evening with the 10 men of this falling team and enjoyed their enthusiasm and their attitude toward all matters of falling and bucking. They are professionals.
....As we talked it did not take long before it became apparent that their boss, George Marshall, was the catalyst of this group. The fallers put it simply: “We’ve got an intelligent organizer in George and we listen to him. We watch out for each other and we’re out to do a good job.”
....For those not familiar with the type of forest around Port McNeill and on the north end of Vancouver Island, it is made up of some very large, often over-mature, trees of Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Balsam and Sitka Spruce. Cedars and Spruce can reach a butt diameter of up to 10 feet. The forest being old contains many huge dead trees, snags, that demand the respect of fallers.
....The sheer size of the trees and the generally difficult terrain would make the northern half of Vancouver Island one of the most hazardous areas in Canada in which to fall trees. The toll of young to well matured men, from novice to old timer, is testimony to the serious accidents and fatals that this rugged area has accounted for. One startling statistic concerning fallers and buckers in this North Island area and in the entire forested parts of B.C., has
been the seemingly large proportion of fallers fatalities, as compared with all other categories of logger in 1984 and 1985.
....The Workers’ Compensation Board of B.C. stated that of the total of 26 logging fatals in 1984, 17 were fallers. In 1985 of a total of 26 loggers, 18 were fallers.
....There are, and always have been conscientious people in our industry concerned with safety. We simply don’t have everyone convinced that it is a dangerous occupation that does not allow for being off one’s guard at any time. We have many dedicated safety people, from our smallest camps to largest, and from our WCB inspectors to woods foremen – but we still need more help.
....Certainly the fallers of MB’s camp at Port McNeill did something about the situation. They made up their minds they could fall and buck trees and not get injured doing it. Their bullbucker, foreman George Marshall, puts it this way: “There is a good working attitude between fellow workers and a positive attitude of believing in our safety program by all members of our department. The falling department does not set goals that can’t be realized. They approach all goals one at a time.
....“They begin their day at the power saw shop where the crew comes in a bit early and has a coffee and tells a few stories. A positive attitude is set and that carries on through the day. Color photos of all the fallers hang on the wall and we have old hand saws, spring boards and scaling sticks on display. We have good seating for
anic, Geoff Harrop, is a real part of our team.”
|A12 British Columbia Lumberman June, 1986|
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|Right Stuff . . .
(Cont’d from pg. A12)
not cut off
dents from 1980 through 1985. Seven-ty-one – nearly half – were fallers.
....Right now we need more examples of what can and has been achieved by those dedicated to a safer logging industry. And there are many examples in all parts of our province. All it takes is intelligent people following a program and getting results.
....The MB falling crew at Port McNeill exactly fits the above description. They have completed over three years of falling and bucking work without a compensatible accident. Let that excellent example stand out as an example of what can be achieved in
logging safety by team effort.
.... Here’s the team: Erik Spik, don Judd, Gerald Elliot, Rob Verbrugge, Steve McLennon, Ralph Newman, Weldon Sharp, Myron Paschuk, Don Cleaver, Ron Thompson and Geoff Harrop. With a special hurrah for George Marshall.
....Gentlemen, you are a credit to the name logger. You’ve got the right stuff!
Keep out of the bight,
Before any bucking cuts are made, you must check and remove any potential hazards created by the falling tree – widow makers, sidewinders, brushed snags or trees. Take time to assess binds or pivot points and chain reactions. Don’t hesitate to change log length for safe bucking and never be caught in a position where you have no escape.
A high level of workmanship must be maintained when felling snags.
• Size and condition (sounding)
• Lean – if any
• Escape path or paths
• Fall into open area
• Cuts to be made at a comfortable ....height for fast get-away
• Undercut as deep and as wide as the ...snag will allow
• No Dutchman (block of wood)
• If wedging is necessary – shut off ...saw, lift ear muffs, avoid heavy ...blows, look up
• Snags should be felled progressively ...with the falling face
• Snags and heavy leaners are not to ...be left on backlines or sidelines. ...Think about the yarding and loading ...crews on windy days.
The fallers of MB’s Port McNeill division have the right stuff!
|• Work Area –
• Make a last minute inspection of your entire work area to assure it is left in safe condition.
If the above job safety breakdown is followed, it is obvious that a great deal of the risk in falling is eliminated. It goes without saying that the job of falling trees – anywhere – is a hazardous occupation, but by adhering to these guidelines, that hazard is considerably lowered.
....One-hundred-and-fifty-six loggers in B.C. lost their lives to on the job acci-
|A18 British Columbia Lumberman June, 1986|