On-the-job wildlife sightings, including bears, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of working in the woods. However, proper education and safe work practices are critical to ensure your safety and maintain a healthy, human-averse population of bears.
The following is a guide designed to help you and your employees avoid conflicts with bears while in the field and know the proper response to a bear encounter. There is information to help you identify bear signs and species, avoid surprise encounters, manage interactions and minimize the threat of a problem bear.
For further assistance on your company training or to suggest a topic for future resource packages, call Gerard at 1-877-741-1060 or email Messier@bcforestsafe.org
How to use this tool
- To enhance current Bear safety training within your organization
- To develop a Bear Aware training program
- To develop a safety bulletin or internal training memo for posting
- To provide an educational component to crew safety meetings/tailgate meetings
- The bear safety training can be presented on its own or as part of your wildlife and insect training.
- This tool contains photographs that should be presented to help workers develop their skills in identifying bear species and their associated traits while working in the field.
- Orientation - During the orientation process workers should be introduced to information about bears including basic information on habitat, diet and annual cycles; identification of black and grizzly bears; bear signs (tracks, tree markings, carcasses, scat, etc) including the significance of each sign and clear, written instructions as to what actions workers are to take when evidence of bears or bear activity is detected.
- Safety Bulletins/Alerts - In addition to company methods for reporting and communicating to on-site workers, close calls or incidents with bears should be communicated across the company using your own process or forms and to industry using the Safety Alert templates. This package may provide additional background information to include in the Alert.
- Crew Talks/Safety Meetings - Refresh and expand worker knowledge - Changes in bear/wildlife behaviour cycles (mating/feeding/birthing seasons) are great opportunities to remind workers of their wildlife training during crew talks, company safety meetings or in printed company safety materials.
- On-site orientations/Visitor Orientations - Provide further information and training on proper bear ‘housekeeping’ at start-up safety meetings when establishing bush camps.
- Program Development – Management and/or the Joint Health & Safety Committee can use the information provided to further expand or develop in-house training programs.