Forest industry-led committees recommend significant changes to prequalification audit system known as “SAFE Companies”

Date: 
NANAIMO, November 8, 2013

Forest industry-led committees recommend significant changes to prequalification audit system known as “SAFE Companies” and “SAFE Certified”

Over the course of the next two months BC forest industry companies and contractors are encouraged to review a discussion paper containing proposed changes to the SAFE Companies Certification for Forestry system and provide feedback to industry steering and working committees.

The key proposed changes are summarized as follows:

EXISTING “SAFE COMPANIES” SYSTEM PROPOSED PREQUALIFICATION SYSTEM
Emphasizes regulatory compliance according to company size Emphasizes managing activities that attract risk, leadership and effective contractor and worker engagement
Company submits documents to Council for review (Small Employers) Council Safety Advisor visits company to review documentation and conduct on-site interviews and observations
Company submits certification audit followed by two maintenance audits in a three-year cycle Council Safety Advisor conducts on-site certification audit. During maintenance years company works on improvement areas identified from on-site visit
Initial training is primarily focused on preparing company representative to complete the audit Initial training is focused on how a safety management system is developed and practically managed and integrated into a company’s operations
Mostly focused on planning work activities Equal focus on planning and execution of work activities

Over the past six years, the forest industry in BC has successfully addressed many safety concerns with the formation of technical and expert committees helping to shape and inform safer practices, training and verification audits.

“The reality is we have now reached a plateau in the reduction of rates of injuries and fatalities. It is critical for us as an industry to move off the plateau and further reduce those rates. We believe that the proposed prequalification standard will help us achieve that goal as an industry, over time,” the chair of the prequalification steering committee, Dwight Yochim, said.

Industry participants are encouraged to learn more about the proposed changes by viewing related documents on the BCFSC website at www.bcforestsafe.org/prequalinput. This section of the website will be updated regularly to share feedback to date, address any emerging issues as well as updates on venues and times for town halls across the Province. A dedicated toll-free telephone number 1-855-234-8360, email: prequalinput@bcforestsafe.org and online survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/prequalinput has also been established for forest industry participants to be able to provide feedback in the most convenient manner 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

Committee members will also be receiving feedback via industry associations, United Steelworkers, WorkSafeBC, Licensees, tenure holders and contractors.

After the consultation and feedback period ends on January 15, 2014, a summary paper and updated proposed new prequalification standard report will be published at www.bcforestsafe.org.

“This is industry’s standard and it is only with broad consultation and feedback that we can ensure that it truly represents what industry believes will result in a safer industry. Everyone wants to go home safe to their families at the end of each work day,” said Mr. Yochim.

The Steering Committee sponsoring this effort is comprised of Kerry Douglas of West Fraser Timber, Otto Schulte of Interfor, MaryAnne Arcand of the Central Interior Logging Association (CILA), Dwight Yochim of the Truck Loggers Association (TLA), John Bulcock of Western Forest Products, Tom Jackson of BC Timber Sales, Ron Corbeil of the United Steelworkers (USWA-IWA) and Dave Whiteley of TimberWest.

The Working Committee is comprised of Randy England of West Fraser Timber, Doug Harrison of Interfor, Ed Ma of Tolko, Glen Williamson of Hytest Timber Ltd., Angelika Posselt of Tahtsa Timber, Don Banasky of Falltech Logging, and Jeff Holland of KDL Group.

The role of the BC Forest Safety Council in this review process is to provide administration and technical safety support to the committees as the forest sector’s health and safety association.

About BCFSC:
The BC Forest Safety Council was created in September 2004 as a not-for-profit society dedicated to promoting forest safety in the forest industry. The organization provides training, information, guidance, safety advisor advocacy, safety reviews and audits to industry. The focus is on preventing fatalities and injuries by helping all industry participants implement best practice safety performance in every forest harvesting job. This covers silviculture activities and timber falling, to machine operators, log truck drivers, heli-logging operations, water haulers and more. Unsafe is Unacceptable.

Media Contact:
Pam Agnew, BCFSC Nanaimo: 250-824-5186, toll-free 1-877-741-1060

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