2009-04-14 Worker Encounters Bear - Safety Bulletin # CA2009424-1

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Barnes Creek 444 -16 km
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2009-04-14
Company Name: 
West Fraser Mills 100 Mile Lumber
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While conducting a plantation reconnaissance on a small block in Barnes Creek at 444-16 km, an employee was walking approximately 200-300 meter from the truck employee came upon an active bear den. The employee observed the bear 6 feet away as it was just exiting the den.

The employee promptly started to back up toward the truck when the bear began to advance. The bear then launched into a full charge and the employee yelled and started to run quickly towards the truck. The employee turned to face the bear when the employee's dog then attacked which distracted the bear long enough for the employee to return to the truck. Due to the potential for serious nature of this incident, an incident investigation is also being completed.

The bear was relatively small and estimated to be a young animal no more than 2 years of age. The bear was likely coming out of hibernation, may have been disoriented, hungry, and being young likely had limited exposure and no fear of humans. The employee was not aware of the den at this site, and there were no prior indications on maps etc. The employee did not anticipate bears to be out, as there were still significant amounts of snow in the adjacent and nearby areas. The employee was making a short stop for a quick assessment while driving through the area and therefore did not have their bearspray or any other deterrents. 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

This is not an overly controllable or preventable incident. Wildlife can be relatively unpredictable. However, possible proactive measures include;

  • Ensuring the employees working in the woods have a bear/wildlife deterrent device such as pepper spray on them at all times
  • Ensuring that all identified den sites are promptly circulated to all who may be working in the area, maintain diligence within safety training on bear awareness and wildlife behavior.
  • Not working alone in known bear areas whenever possible

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

 Doug White @ 100 Mile Lumber 250 395-8200

File attachments
2009-04-14WorkerEncountersBear.pdf
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