Many workers in the forest industry work on, or are transported to and from work on water. This includes workers as passengers in crew boats, and workers being transported in vehicles on barges.
Tragically, too many workers in British Columbia have lost their lives as a result of various types of incidents involving crew boats or barges.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada recorded 11 incidents involving crew boats or boom boats supporting remote logging operations between 2000 and 2007. In 2008, two silviculture workers drowned when the barge transporting them partially submerged. This year, a worker lost his life when the piece of equipment he was unloading fell into the water, and he was trapped inside the machine.
In addition to the drowning hazards, many workers have died while servicing marine equipment. These fatalities include suffocation in a confined space, or tanks exploding while being welded.
A common contributing factor in many of the incidents has been a lack of operator training. Often employers are unaware of specific training and certification requirements. The BC Forest Safety Council is distributing the following information to help employers and workers meet the current and upcoming certification requirements.
Training and certification requirements for marine personnel
In July of 2007, Transport Canada Marine Safety released a table showing the operator requirements for a vessel less than or equal to 15 gross tonnes operating in certain areas according to section 212 of the Marine Personnel Regulation. This table is accessible on the BC Forest Safety Council website here: Marine Personnel Matrix for Small Vessels.
Note: In general, the implementation deadline for the training and certification requirements for passenger-carrying vessels is November 7, 2009 and for workboats (including tugs) is November 7, 2010.
Crew boat operators and crew are required to be certified in Marine Emergency Duties (MED A3), which is typically a one day course. Operators also need the Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP) course which is typically a four day program with the MED A3 as a prerequisite. Some training providers will combine the two courses into a five day classroom and on-the-water training exercise.
For a full list of the certification requirements under the Marine Personnel Regulations you can visit the Department of Justice Canada website here: Justice.gc.ca. Edit: when you click on this link, it takes you to a legal notice on the Justice Website, to continue on to the regulations, click on the last line of the notice.
A list of the Transport Canada Approved Marine Training Providers (TP10655B) can be found on the BC Forest Safety Council website here: Marine Training Providers. This is a Transport Canada document and should not be interpreted as a list of trainers endorsed by the BC Forest Safety Council.
Part of every safety management system must include the correct training and certification for the tasks that the workers are performing. For SAFE certified companies, keeping your workers trained and their certifications current is part of maintaining your SAFE certification.
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