Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Health & Safety

Health & Safety

HeadsUpGuys – A Comprehensive Resource Supporting Men Facing Depression

BC Forest Safety Council
December 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

There are multiple reports of worker suicide within the forest sector.  There are many misconceptions about depression that make it difficult for men to talk to others and take charge of their health. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a fact. Men get depressed. Depression affects millions of men every year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  HeadsUpGuys is a Canada-wide initiative to develop resources, services and programs to improve the mental health and well-being of men. The HeadsUpGuys website provides information, tips and advice to support men in their fight against depression.

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Dealing with Combustible Dust

By Anna Simet
Biomass Magazine
October 28, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, United States

To combat the common problem of dust collector fires and explosions often experienced in the woodworking industry, Flamex pioneered utilization of a new technology in North America by introducing its spark detection and extinguishing system in 1977, and it became the first of its kind to become FM Approved. Since that time, thousands of Flamex Systems have been installed in woodworking facilities across North America and beyond. When the wood pellet industry entered a period of rapid growth over a decade ago, it was a natural fit for the company. “We specialize in industries that handle combustible dust, so we’re germane to the wood pellet industry—there are many fire hazards associated with the processes,” says Allen Wagoner, Flamex president. Today, Flamex has thousands of installations in applications of all kinds across North America, belonging to global fire protection industry company Minimax-Viking.

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Avoiding Combustible Dust Mistakes

By Jean Lian
Occupational Health and Safety Canada
September 24, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Combustible dust, which is a mixture of fine solid particles that are liable to catch fire or explode upon ignition when dispersed in the air, is a hazard common to many industries. …In 2018, there were 194 dust fires and explosions result ing in one fatality and 39 injuries in North America, compared to 145 dust fires and explosions resulting in six fatalities and 52 injuries in the previous year. …While conducting a dust-hazard analysis, implementing controls and documenting the effectiveness of the preventive measures taken is a good process to follow, “there are a lot of mistakes that occur,” says Reason, who spoke at Safety 2019 in New Orleans. …The most common mistake is not knowing the hazards of the dust present in a workplace. “Wood dust is not wood dust; corn is not corn,” says Reason, adding that there are differ­ences that affect their explosive properties.

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Funding available for Off-road Vehicle trail maintenance, safety programs

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
January 14, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Outdoor groups interested in funding opportunities to improve off-road riding conditions and safety can once again apply to the Off-road Vehicle (ORV) Trail Fund. The funding is intended to improve the sustainability and quality of outdoor motorized vehicle opportunities for B.C. residents and visitors. The total available funding in 2020 is $200,000, with 25% of the money set aside for safety promotion and 75% marked for construction and maintenance. Requests for funding from $1,000 to $20,000 will be considered. …This is the third year for the funding program. Future planned yearly disbursements will be between $100,000 and $250,000 per year, depending on the growth of the fund.

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Mental Health: Coping with the Stress of Forestry’s Economic Downturn

BC Forest Safety Council
December 18, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The stress of the economic downturn in B.C.’s forest industry is being felt not only by the hundreds of mill workers who have been laid off or had a reduction in shifts, but also by forestry workers and contractors, such as log truck drivers and independent timber harvesters, who rely on the mills to produce product. Managing stress effectively reduces the negative symptoms and allows us to pay attention to the critical safety aspects of our jobs. …Losing your job or not having work is a setback, to be sure, and it’s hard not to take things personally. But in order to keep your self-esteem intact, try to think about the situation as objectively as possible. It’s important to experience whatever emotions arise and you don’t want to ignore them.  You can, however, manage them and make sure they don’t get the best of you during the process. Coping with job loss is difficult, but you never know what’s around the corner.   If you feel you need assistance in dealing with stress and have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) don’t hesitate to use it.

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Using the past to predict the future…

By Rob Moonen
BC Forest Safety Council
December 6, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rob Moonen

One crucial feature of science is that it makes evidence-based predictions.  This evidence comes from several sources.  Data can be collected to characterize the current state of our industry and recordings over time can reveal short-term trends.  In addition, various techniques can be used to evaluate what the forestry industry was like in the past and how and why it changed. I think it’s safe to conclude that applying science to predict the future of the perfect storm presently facing our industry is leaving many of us asking – What’s next? While there are many questions about the future of the forest industry, there is some value in learning from the past to predict the future. …Fortunately, the same principles of preventing injuries can be applied in gearing an operation up, as managing in difficult times. In both cases, these principles help control total cost. The fundamental question that leadership of an operation should ask is, “Are we ready to do business well as we start the crews back up?”

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Brink fined for unsafe workplace

Prince George Citizen
December 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC has hit Brink Forest Products Ltd. with a $37,639.56 fine for unsafe work practices. The fine was levied on Oct. 4 in response to a July 3 inspection to see if the employer had completed a safeguarding audit and added new guards to the workplace. The inspector found the employer had done so but also came across some problems. “During the inspection, I observed two separate safeguards that were left open,” the inspector said in a report. “One safeguard gate was propped open with a garbage can and the other was flipped open.” “The employer corrected the violation immediately and I discussed with the employer and worker that the root cause of the violation must be investigated to ensure sustainability of compliance.”

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West Fraser Mills fined for violation in Quesnel

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
December 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC has fined West Fraser Mills following an inspection in Quesnel. The inspection took place at a debarker building and at the plywood plant. WorkSafeBC says there were accumulations of combustible dust observed in multiple locations, including near potential ignition sources such as lighting, electric motors, and rotating machinery parts. It says West Fraser failed to remove hazardous accumulations of combustible dust, which it described as a high-risk violation. The fine, imposed on November 1st, was for $150,983.96.

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Recommended practices for floatplane safety

By Ken Pole
Skies Magazine
December 5, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canadian floatplane operators, wrestling with a Transportation Safety Board (TSB) warning that they had been drifting into increasingly unsafe practices in recent years, now have a practicable solution courtesy of retired industry veteran Jim Hartwell and some major players in the business. Their North Star Practices, a set of practices and an audit process, is a how-to manual on safety now available on the Float Plane Operators Association website and soon to be up on the Northern Air Transport Association site. The idea is to give operators time to assess their own situations before the floatplane community ramps up operations next spring. …The project also involved others still in the business. They included Dustin Meierhofer, director of Transportation and Northern Safety for the British Columbia Forest Safety Council (BCSFC), who voiced his concerns to the FOA in 2016 about floatplane safety. Several forestry employees had died when floatplanes crashed in remote locations.

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Report into B.C. sawmill explosions recommends removing charge approval oversight from WorkSafeBC

The Canadian Press in CBC News
December 2, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A report reviewing responses by the British Columbia government and WorkSafeBC after two fatal sawmill explosions is calling for a more streamlined investigative process and new ways for workers to report safety concerns. Two people died and 19 were injured in an explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake in January 2012. Three months later, two people died and 44 were injured in a similar explosion at Lakeland Mills in Prince George. Vancouver lawyer Lisa Helps was asked to assess how worker safety recommendations were implemented in the aftermath of the explosions. In her 54-page report, Helps says all the recommendations made in three reports stemming from the incidents have been implemented or partially implemented and the changes have been largely effective and positive.

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Aaron Frost earns Most Valuable Player in Forestry award

By Tyson Whitney
North Island Gazette
December 1, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Aaron Frost and Rob Moonen

Former Port McNeill Councillor Aaron Frost was recently honoured with a very well-deserved award. The Leadership in Safety Awards are presented each year at the annual Vancouver Island Safety Conference recognizing individuals for their contributions in supporting safety in the workplace and outstanding safety achievements. Frost won for the Most Valuable Player in Forestry, with the Forestry Safety Newsletter stating he was “Recognized for his wealth of safety experience in forestry… The 2019 Cary White Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for Commitment to Safety Excellence was presented to Ron Judd. Nominated by the Coast Harvesting Advisory Council (CHAG) for his long-standing career to supporting safety in the forestry sector… The 2019 Most Valuable Player Award for Manufacturing went to Darren Beattie. 

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New research projects look at health impacts of fighting forest fires

Glacier Media in Kamloops Matters
November 21, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The University of Northern BC and the University of Alberta are conducting studies to learn more about how firefighting activities affect the health of fire crews. “There is really no data that tells us about the long-term effects on the respiratory system of working year after year as a wildland firefighter,” said Dr. Nicola Cherry. …Fighting wildfires is thought to place firefighters at risk of asthma, lung diseases and mental-health issues Cherry’s work will examine the nature and concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air that firefighters breathe and accumulate on their skin. PAHs are a suite of organic compounds produced when organic material burns, some of which can be carcinogenic. Cherry’s work in B.C. will look at the relationship between skin hygiene and the absorption of PAHs. 

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Investigative journalist drives change in logging truck safety

The Terrace Standard
November 18, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gordon Hoekstra

Award winning Vancouver Sun investigative journalist Gordon Hoekstra says graduating from Langara College in 1992 and getting his first journalism job at the Prince George Citizen was a “huge turning point” in his life. So was his first major investigation. Hoekstra answers questions about his early, award-winning work on logging truck safety. The series of 35 stories, called Dying for Work, earned The Citizen a Michener Award in 2006. “I started having conversations with truckers, who told me about working long hours on narrow roads. ‘It’s always push, push, push,’ they said. …I wrote stories about how around two dozen drivers had died in a decade, how drivers were expected to continue to die, about the industry, and how things could have been fixed and they weren’t. As a result, the province hired a forestry coroner and announced more than $20 million in upgrades to forestry roads.”

 

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WorkSafeBC investigating death of 19-year-old at forestry worksite near Creston

By Simon Little
Global News
November 15, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kaydon Booth

WorkSafeBC and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating the death of a 19-year-old man at a forestry worksite on Thursday. Friends have identified the victim as Kaydon Booth of Creston, B.C. “I’m still in shock that he’s gone,” said friend Ella McCallum, who described Kaydon as the “type of person that would give you the shirt off his back.” …McCallum said she was told a Kaydon was pinned by a piece of machinery and suffered critical internal injuries. …Creston RCMP confirmed the incident happened in an area between Salmo and Creston. WorkSafeBC said it was notified of the incident shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday and that it would not comment further while it was investigating to determine the cause of the incident.

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Research to examine BCWS firefighters’ health

By Blair McBride
Houston Today
November 6, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) is funding research at two western universities that will focus on how wildland firefighters’ work affects their health. The $305,000 will fund projects to be conducted by researchers at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the University of Alberta, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) said in a news release on Oct. 29. …The UNBC portion of the research will be led by Chelsea Pelletier, an assistant professor at UNBC’s School of Health Sciences. Pelletier will examine scientific literature from around the world for all dimensions of firefighter health, including the physical, mental and emotional aspects. Her work will try to find solutions to reduce any health impacts firefighters face and “identify any gaps in the work-related health knowledge of wildland firefighters and associated personnel.”

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Research into wildland firefighter health underway

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
October 29, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two research projects will benefit firefighters and associated personnel by looking into their health and wellness. The BC Wildfire Service has provided $305,000 to help fund the research projects. The University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Alberta are conducting the studies to learn more about how firefighting activities affect the health of fire crews. “Our firefighters have worked hard on the front lines to keep British Columbians safe during difficult and record-setting wildfire seasons,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “These studies will help us support their long-term health and well-being.”

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Floatplane industry crafting new safety protocols

Skies Magazine
October 1, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

So far this year, 34 aviation accidents and incidents are under active investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). Seven of those accidents involved floatplanes, including six which resulted in fatalities. …In 2016, Dustin Meierhofer, director of Transportation and Northern Safety for the British Columbia Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), voiced his concerns to the FOA about floatplane safety. Several forestry employees had lost their lives when floatplanes crashed during ferry flights to remote locations. These concerns prompted Hartwell to begin creating a set of safety protocols dubbed the North Star Practices (NSPs) – a voluntary initiative involving everyone with a stake in ensuring that the public in general, and workers in the natural resources industry in particular, have the safest flights possible. …One NSPs recommendation Hartwell was willing to share is that floatplane operations should be limited to “official” civil daylight hours…

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Employer cleared for delaying employee’s return to safety-sensitive work in B.C.

By Jeffrey Smith
The Canadian HR Reporter
September 27, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A BC employer acted reasonably when it delayed a worker’s return from medical leave an additional three weeks while it ensured it had sufficient medical information to clear the employee for work in a safety-sensitive position, an arbitrator has ruled.  Northgate/West Fraser Logistics and TC, Local 31 (Cherak) involved Northgate/West Fraser Logistics, which operates a lumberyard and warehouse in Delta, B.C. …The psychiatrist’s note stating Cherak could return to work on March 1, 2018, didn’t demonstrate any knowledge of the nature of Cherak’s work and “was insufficient to give the employer reasonable confidence was fit to return as a forklift driver in its lumberyard, even if exempted from car-moving work,” said the arbitrator. …The arbitrator determined that Northgate didn’t have sufficient medical information to return Cherak to his safety-sensitive position.

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Investigators probe Campbell River helicopter crash

By Alanna Kelly
CTV News
September 25, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ed Wilcox

Investigators continue to probe a helicopter crash in Campbell River that claimed the life of a pilot on Tuesday. …Ed Wilcock, the owner of E&B Helicopters, was the sole person on the helicopter when it crashed at about 11:25 a.m. Wilcock was well known and had decades of flying experience on Vancouver Island. A former co-owner of E&B Helicopters remembered his friend and partner as “very focused and very driven.” “Anybody in the community already knows him,” Alder told CTV News on Tuesday. “He’s done a lot for this community. He’s going to be missed, big time.” …Wilcock was given a lifetime-achievement-in-safety award by the BC Forest Safety Council in 2017, citing his “understanding and appreciation of workers’ safety in the forestry industry.”

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Province takes ‘first steps’ on Bamfield road improvements

By Cindy Harnett
The Times-Colonist
September 24, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The province will not take immediate action to upgrade Bamfield Main, but Premier John Horgan has committed to “first steps” for incremental improvements, says the chief councillor of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. …The First Nation said Horgan told its representatives that the government began working on a engineering report for the road about a month ago. It said he has agreed to meet with the First Nation in November to review the study. …The 78-kilometre Bamfield Main includes 60 kilometres of road owned by Western Forest Products and 18 owned by Mosaic Forest Management, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the Ministry of Transportation, Dennis said. Western Forest Products owns the stretch of road where the crash happened. The province provides annual funding, but the forestry companies are responsible for maintenance.

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WorkSafeBC fines local business

The Prince George Citizen
September 24, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC has levied a $5,000 fine against a Prince George business over improper handling of wood dust. According to a posting on the agency’s website, an inspection of Hyon Bedding Ltd. revealed “accumulations of wood dust on surfaces throughout the facility, including near ignition sources such as drive motors and electrical devices. “The firm failed to control and remove hazardous accumulations of combustible dust, a repeated and high-risk violation.” Hyon Bedding Ltd. sorts and bags sawmill wood shavings for secondary processing. The fine was issued on April 15.

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Huu-ay-aht encouraged by premier’s pledge to fix logging road

The Canadian Press in the Times-Colonist
September 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Huu-ay-aht First Nations said they are pleased their call for action following a fatal crash on the Bamfield Main road has been answered. Premier John Horgan on Thursday promised upgrades to the gravel logging road where two University of Victoria students died in a bus crash last week. …Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis said his nation has long been seeking upgrades to the privately owned gravel road that is the only vehicle access between Port Alberni and Huu-ay-aht communities in Bamfield. Bamfield Main is a gravel logging road owned in part by forestry companies. It is also used by residents and tourists travelling between Bamfield and Port Alberni. The province provides annual funding, but the forestry companies are responsible for maintenance. Western Forest Products owns the stretch of road where the crash happened.

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John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

By Devon Bidal
The Penticton Western News
September 19, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

BC Premier John Horgan acknowledges the need for improvements to the logging road from Port Alberni to Bamfield where two students from the University of Victoria were killed on Sept. 13. …Horgan noted that the problems with the road aren’t new, nor are the concerns. …The premier said it’s unfortunate that it took a fatal tragedy for the province to focus its attention on the road. He promised that he, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena, the forestry companies and the local Indigenous community would be working together on the matter. Horgan acknowledged that the road itself is privately owned and under the purview of Western Forest Products… but pointed out that the public uses it so the province is “going to have to find a way forward.”

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Forest safety ombudsman warned province about Bamfield road in 2008 report

CBC News
September 17, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Geerdes and Emma MachadoB.C.’s forest safety ombudsman warned the provincial government 11 years ago about the dangers of the road to Bamfield, where a bus crash on Friday claimed the lives of two University of Victoria students. The route between Port Alberni, B.C., and the community on Vancouver Island’s west coast was highlighted in a 2008 report by Roger Harris on the status of the province’s 400,000 kilometres of gravel logging roads. It quoted a community member from a 2007 town hall, who said: “It scares me, the thought of those school and tour buses on the road each day.” Harris, who still holds the position today, warned the provincial government in his report that numerous communities in B.C., including Bamfield, are only accessible by old logging roads that are not adequately maintained. [An audio link to the complete interview with Roger Harris on The Early Edition is available in the story.]

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Owner of Chapleau lumber mill fined $250,000 for workplace fatality

By Chelsea Papineau
CTV News
January 8, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

SUDBURY — The owner of a Chapleau lumber mill has been fined $250,000 after an investigation into a May 2018 workplace fatality. According to a release sent by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development… the worker was  using a loader to move bundles of wood when the incident happened. The labour ministry says there was no eye witness to the event, but it is believed that the operator had exited the machine to place material on top of the first load to create space for the next bundle when the loader rolled forward, pinning the worker between it and the pile. …Montreal-based Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries Inc. acquired the lumber mill from Tembec just a few days after the incident. Rayonier has now pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in Ontario’s Industrial Establishments Regulation were carried out.

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Safety trainer believes new bush road driving course should be mandatory

By Erik White
CBC News
December 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

The number of fatal accidents on northern Ontario bush roads has inspired a new driver training course. According to a 2015 study there were 8 forest industry deaths on logging roads in a 6-year period. Workplace Safety North will roll out the new training in January. Prevention services director Chris Serratore thinks it should be a mandatory course for new logging truck drivers. …Serratore also says that sometimes logging truck drivers drive too quickly because they are under pressure to get their load to the mill.  “You know, one of the things is complacency. People will tend to drive a little bit fast because they don’t expect or they don’t anticipate seeing other people out there on those roads,” he says. “The roads are a little bit narrower, you don’t have as much visibility along the sides. The right-of-ways aren’t as clear as they would be on a on a major highway or anything like that.”

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Project aims to make bush road driving safer

Soo Today
December 13, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Concerned with the safety of community members and workers accessing Ontario forests, a new health and safety training program is now available across the province. The “Safe Driving on Forest Roads” course from Workplace Safety North (WSN) addresses the unique dangers associated with forest roads, with the goal of promoting awareness and reducing the number of incidents. …“Many Ontarians [have] helped by completing an online survey about their use of forest roads,” says Chris Serratore, WSN Prevention Services Director.  …With the input of a training program advisory team, Workplace Safety North facilitated the development of best practices and classroom training materials for safe operation of motor vehicles on forest roads. Organizations involved in supporting and creating the course include Sustainable Forest Initiative Inc., Central Canada Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee, Domtar. and Resolute Forest Products.

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Worker injured at Resolute sawmill

TB Newswatch
December 9, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — The Ministry of Labour is investigating an industrial accident at Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay sawmill.  The ministry said the individual was taken to hospital Sunday after he sustained injuries from a piece of equipment. A spokesperson for Resolute did not respond to an inquiry from Tbnewswatch. However, sources at the mill said the worker suffered a crushed arm. A labour ministry inspector accompanied by a ministry engineer visited the workplace Monday. They issued no immediate orders or requirements to the company. The mill is located in the Fort William First Nation’s industrial park. (End of Story)

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Death of worker at Fredericton sawmill under investigation by WorkSafeNB CBC.ca

By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
CBC News
October 11, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Troy Lewis Bourque

WorkSafeNB is investigating the death of a worker at a sawmill in Fredericton on Thursday. Police were called to Devon Lumber on the city’s north side around 2:30 p.m., said Fredericton Police Force spokesperson Alycia Bartlett. “Several” officers responded, and the last officer cleared the scene at 200 Gibson St., just before 6 p.m., she said. An obituary posted online Friday identifies the worker as being Troy Lewis Bourque, 50, a married father. “Troy was always willing and able to lend a helping hand anywhere he could,” it states. …WorkSafeNB spokesperson Laragh Dooley declined to disclose any details about the nature of the incident. “The investigation will help us determine how the fatality may have been prevented and whether there were any violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act or its regulations,” she said in an emailed statement.

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Exposure to wildfire smoke in West carries long-term health concerns

By Matthew Brown
Associated Press in Statesman Journal
January 9, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Kelsey Norton

PARADISE, Calif.  — First came the flames, a raging firestorm propelled by 50 mph (80 kph) wind gusts that incinerated Kelsey Norton’s house and killed 85 people in her community. Then came the smoke — not just from the forest but also from some 14,000 houses… generating a thick plume that … left Norton gasping. “I don’t want to have cancer in my 50s because I inhaled smoke in my 30s,” she said. The immediate toll of lives and property lost in 2018 when a fire tore through the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Paradise, California is well documented. Still unknown is the long-term impact of the intense smoke exposure suffered by the tragedy’s survivors and the hundreds of thousands of people living in communities downwind of the blaze. …Dr. Nicholas Kenyon, a pulmonologist, said determining the health effects of smoke is increasingly urgent … “Nobody’s been really inhaling this kind of stuff from structures until now.”

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Smoke has a serious impact on human health

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
November 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Bad news: Wildfire smoke contributes to 15,000 premature deaths every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Worse news: Expect 40,000 premature deaths per year by century’s end thanks to rising temperatures and bigger wildfires. Wildfire smoke can cause heart attacks, asthma and lung disease, contributing to the toll of cigarettes, auto exhaust and emissions from coal-fired power plants. …So does that mean the Forest Service’s plan to both repeatedly burn a million acres in Rim Country and the White Mountains will take a toll on human health? …Will controlled burns have less impact on human health than wildfires? Answer: Wildfires are definitely worse, according to the EIS and multiple studies. Can we reduce the impact of prescribed burns? Definitely. But more on that at the end of this latest series on the 4FRI environmental analysis. …But can we do something about the smoke from prescribed burns as well? That brings us back to burning biomass.

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Smoke has serious impact on human health

By Peter Aleshire
The White Mountain Independent
November 7, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

WHITE MOUNTAINS — Bad news: Wildfire smoke contributes to 15,000 premature deaths every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Worse news: Expect 40,000 premature deaths per year by century’s end thanks to rising temperatures and bigger wildfires. Wildfire smoke can cause heart attacks, asthma and lung disease, contributing to the toll of cigarettes, auto exhaust and emissions from coal-fired power plants. One study showed a 7 percent increase in heart attacks and a 2 percent increase in emergency room visits when wildfire smoke rolls into populated areas. So does that mean the Forest Service’s plan to both repeatedly burn a million acres in Rim Country and the White Mountains will take a toll on human health? …But here’s the real question: Will controlled burns have less impact on human health than wildfires? Answer: Wildfires are definitely worse, according to multiple studies.

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Flames, gear and risks of photographing California wildfires

By Marcio Jose Sanchez
The Herald and News
November 4, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

SANTA PAULA, California — It’s ironic, but momentarily forgetting some of my safety gear ended up saving my life. It happened as I drove late Thursday into the heart of a wildfire that had erupted near the city of Santa Paula, a two-hour drive west of Los Angeles. …Dressed in flame-resistant clothes, heavy boots and carrying my two cameras, I spent a few minutes walking around and surveying the scene before starting to shoot photos. After a few minutes, I realized I had forgotten my helmet and fire shelter, essentially a tarp that can be deployed to cover and protect your body if you can’t escape flames. So I began walking back to my car, and a few minutes later two large burning branches crashed in the exact place where I had been standing.

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Should lumber trucks be allowed highway access? Congressman says yes.

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
November 5, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

ALGOMA, Wisconsin — A new congressional initiative would lift restrictions for lumber trucks, allowing them access to the interstate highway system. Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher is a sponsor of the Safe Routes Act of 2019, which would give truckers a choice of routes by allowing state legal, short haul, and commodity-specific log trucks access to highways, and therefore lessening the need to travel through back roads and towns. …According to a 2018 Virginia Tech study, 96 percent of logging truck collisions occurred on city, county, or state roads where they encounter school zones, cross walks, intersections, stop signs, oncoming traffic, and railroad crossings, write congressional supporters of the bill. A 2018 University of Georgia study found that 41% of logging truck collisions occurred within five miles of the Interstate. The Safe Routes Act of 2019 would allow logging trucks to travel on the federal interstate for 150 air miles.

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Georgia driver survives harrowing crash as huge logs pierce car

Associated Press in 11Alive.com WXIA
October 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

COHUTTA, Ga. — Authorities say a motorist survived after several large logs from a logging truck pierced the car’s windshield and rammed all the way through the rear hatch. The Whitfield County Fire Department says firefighters pulled the driver from the car Friday in the Cohutta area in northwest Georgia. The fire department posted photos of the wreckage off Cleveland Highway on its Facebook page. Jaw-dropping images show trees inside the entire cab of the driver’s black SUV. WTVC-TV reports that the driver sustained only minor injuries. “Great job guys!,” the department wrote on Facebook, thanking its crew for the rescue. Cohutta is about 100 miles northwest of Atlanta, near the Georgia-Tennessee line.

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WorkSafeNB investigating death of worker at Fredericton sawmill

By Andrea Jerrett
CTV News Fredericton
October 11, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

HALIFAX — WorkSafeNB is investigating the death of a worker at a sawmill in Fredericton. The workplace accident happened Thursday at Devon Lumber on Gibson Street. The Fredericton Police Force confirms it responded to the incident at Devon Lumber, but says the investigation has been turned over to WorkSafeNB. “The investigation will help us determine how the fatality may have been prevented and whether there were any violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act or its regulations,” said Laragh Dooley, director of communications, in a statement. Dooley says WorkSafeNB won’t be releasing any information about the worker or the circumstances surrounding their death at this time. Devon Lumber remains closed Friday.

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Introduction to mechanized logging safety

Vermont Biz
October 2, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

October 8th and 9th 2019, The Logger Education to Advance Professionalism (LEAP) program is offering a modernized logging safety course. The program is one of the requirements for participants to become eligible for the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers’ Insurance program, a certification in high demand by contractors, that can result in a 15% discount on workers’ compensation insurance premiums. The course will cover many safety elements in a mechanized logging environment, as well as expectations set for employers and employees, delivered by safety qualified instructors. …Logging is statistically a high risk occupation and this program has been designed to reduce the risk of injury to those working on logging operations. A credible safety training program, combined with an on-site inspection of logging operations to ensure that safe practices learned in training have been implemented, have been proven to reduce injuries, claims and costs in other states.

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IOC’s Bach asked to intervene in Tokyo Olympic labour dispute

By Stephen Wade
The Associated Press in CTV News
November 22, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

TOKYO — An international trade union wants IOC President Thomas Bach to intervene and investigate alleged labour and safety violations at venues being built for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. The Building and Wood Workers’ International has been critical for several years of workers’ rights at Olympic venues… it has asked local organizers, Tokyo’s municipal government, and the Japan Sport Council, for outside inspections of construction sites. …The BWI alleges health and safety violations and has been critical of the treatment of migrant workers in Tokyo, the use of subcontractors, and wages. It has also complained about grievance procedures. …The letter says three workers have died during the construction process, and it also alleges that “venues have been built using tropical rainforest timber from companies with a documented history of indigenous and worker rights violations.”

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Blood-red haze engulfs Indonesian province as forest fires and smog worsen

By Eric Cheung
CNN
September 24, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

The skies over the Indonesian province of Jambi have been turned blood red, as the toxic haze from widespread rainforest fires continues to affect residents across the country. …More than 328,000 hectares of ecologically-rich land have been burned across Indonesia in recent weeks. The raging fires have forced hundreds of residents to evacuate and led to the deployment of more than 9,000 personnel to battle the flames. …The ominous-looking red skies were caused by a phenomenon called Mie scattering, which occurs when sunlight is scattered by tiny pollution particles in the air. …The scattering happens when the diameter of the particles is similar to the wavelength of visible sunlight, the agency said. …Some residents have been forced to evacuate to other cities because of the hazardous air quality.

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Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

By Elena Rardon
The Penticton Western News
September 19, 2019
Category: Health & Safety

The author of a 2008 report on the safety of B.C.’s logging roads is accusing the province of ignoring his findings, in the wake of the fatal bus crash near Bamfield. Ombudsperson Roger Harris’s report on “resource roads,” or logging roads, contained 17 recommendations to improve maintenance and safety, following 16 related deaths in three years. Many of them have been adopted, but not what Harris calls his “cornerstone” recommendation – the creation of a new designation for logging roads that serve as a community’s primary or secondary access roads. This designation would have “clearly defined standards” for maintenance, construction and enforcement. …In a recent statement, the Ministry of Transportation said the issue is complex because the province doesn’t own the road. Private companies own and main it for forestry operations. But Harris argued it hasn’t been primarily used as a logging road for many years. …Bamfield is not the only B.C. community served by resource roads.

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