BC Forest Safety Council Appoints New Safety Advocates

May 3, 2007

The BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) has recently named four safety advocates as part of its SAFE Companies program. The industry certification program is a province-wide initiative to ensure every company meets and exceeds all safety requirements. With these appointments, the Council now has a total of six safety advocates across B.C. The first two advocates, Neil Campbell of Penticton and John Gooding of Williams Lake, were appointed earlier in the year.

The new safety advocates are Calvin Hill of Terrace, Bob Lamond of Cranbrook, David Mullett of Quatsino and Cary White of Parksville. With nearly 110 years’ combined experience, the main focus of the advocates is to assist small companies, those with fewer than 20 employees, with their safety program development. Companies that want to apply for the assistance of an advocate are able to do so by contacting the Council.

Since the BCFSC launched the SAFE Companies Program in November 2006, 47 companies have achieved certification, 18 of which have fewer than 20 employees. In addition, over half of the 1,200 companies that have registered to become SAFE certified are small companies. The services of the safety advocates are free of charge for any small company or contractor that has registered to become SAFE certified and has completed its two-day Small Employer Occupational Health and Safety training course.

“These safety advocates are forestry veterans who know what the issues are and understand the reality of working conditions in the sector,” says SAFE Companies senior advisor Keith Rush. “Not only can they help small companies achieve certification but they understand the specific challenges small companies and contractors face on a day-to-day basis.”

Rush says the safety advocates will perform two important roles: working with the forest sector in their area to promote safe practices and attitudes, as well as working with small forest harvesting companies, guiding them in the development and implementation of effective safety programs and procedures leading up to their certification audits.

Safety advocates are being located throughout the province, particularly in those areas where the industry is the most active. “The Council is fostering a province-wide support community for employers trying to achieve sector-recognized safety standards. These safety advocates will be a very large part of that community’s awareness and outreach,” says Rush.

The safety advocates undergo four days of training on the SAFE Companies program and the audit processes. The BC Forest Safety Council, which is responsible for managing and deploying the advocates, plans to hire up to seven advocates by the end of the year.

“The role of the safety advocate is crucial to improving safety performance and awareness in the forest sector, and to developing a safety culture within the industry,” says Rush. “This is all about making our industry a safer place through mentoring, training and continual improvement.”

Additionally, the safety advocates will be available to meet with various regional constituents including local contractor associations, WorkSafeBC representatives, Ministry of Forests and Range senior managers, BC Timber Sales managers, Steelworkers Union representatives and local mayors and senior municipal politicians to discuss the SAFE Companies program and certification process.

The BC Forest Safety Council is a not-for-profit society dedicated to promoting forest health and safety. The Council was founded and is supported by all major forestry organizations in B.C. and works with forestry employers, workers, contractors and the provincial government and agencies to implement changes necessary to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries in the forest sector.

For more information about the Council, applying for the services of a safety advocate or to view a copy of the Council’s 2006-07 Progress Report, visit www.bcforestsafe.org

Safety Advocate Bios:

Calvin Hill of Terrace has had a 40-year career in logging. Working mostly in senior positions, he has planned and supervised logging operations and pursued a personal commitment to workplace safety. Hill was a superintendent with Weldwood, Canadian Cellulose and CIPA Lumber Co. Ltd. His earlier operational experience includes falling and operating loaders, yarders and other heavy logging equipment.

Bob Lamond of Cranbrook worked for Tembec and its predecessor Crestbrook Forest Industries Ltd. for 35 years. He began his career as a mill labourer and worked up to East Kootenay regional woodlands safety supervisor. Lamond’s experience includes training safety committee members, overseeing safety audits and accident investigations, developing safety programs, as well as implementing environmental management systems.

David Mullett of Quatsino on northern Vancouver Island is a safety specialist with over a decade of experience as a safety trainer and safety co-ordinator for Interfor in Port Hardy. While working at Interfor, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s Safety Task Group. Mullett’s other experience includes 11 years as a hydraulic log loader operator, chokerman, rigging slinger, chaser and other logging jobs.

Cary White of Parksville retired from WorkSafeBC in 2003 after nearly 23 years as a safety officer specializing in forestry. Since then, he has worked on safety issues for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Interfor and multi-phase logging contractors. Before becoming a safety officer, White had more than 12 years of forestry experience, mainly in coastal logging operations.

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