Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Health & Safety

Health & Safety

How pulp and paper mills are keeping workers safe during COVID-19

By Kristina Urquhart
Occupational Health and Safety Canada
March 26, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

While many businesses are temporarily shuttering across the country, Canada’s forest products sector is busy producing pulp for some of the mission-critical goods necessary to combat COVID-19 — such as medical and personal care supplies — as well as tissue and paper products to ease consumer demand. Several provincial governments, including Quebec and Ontario, have deemed pulp and paper and associated forest products producers as essential businesses exempt from closures mandated to slow the spread of the coronavirus. What are our pulp and paper producers doing to ensure their workers stay safe from infection while they continue to operate? In the interest of sharing best practices, OHS Canada‘s sister publication Pulp and Paper Canada has rounded up some procedures being implemented by mills across the country.

Read More

A unique treatment method to reduce anxiety

By Helena Jehnichen
Flourish Hypnosis
March 23, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

We are living through unique and challenging times. As an added service for Tree Frog News readers, we are pleased to provide this special article written by someone well known in the BC forest sector. Many of you know Helena Jehnichen from her time managing the TLA convention, and later providing conference services to BC Wood, Western Red Cedar Association and more. Today Helena is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, providing a range of services including anti-anxiety techniques. 

Helena Jehnichen

Do you or someone you suffering from anxiety or worry? As a Hypnotherapist I see many clients that suffer from fears, phobias, worry and anxiety. The situations that create these issues may be related to social, work or medical situations. …Ever wonder why some people react to situations calmly while others have a negative response? The negative feelings are the subconscious minds response to unresolved past events or unresolved feelings. The subconscious mind is a supercomputer and it can store millions of pieces of data. If the experiences stored are unresolved or unprocessed, then it is just like a computer program it keeps running the outdated program, until the software/program is updated. Hypnotherapy is effective because the therapist can communicate with both the conscious and the subconscious mind to create the change in programming.

Read More

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.

Read More

Breathing always hard for some Comox Valley residents

By Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley Record
March 30, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Regional governments and the Province have brought in restrictions on burning, to help those with respiratory conditions during the current pandemic. The COVID-19 situation is forcing the wider community to think about respiratory health. For some who live with ongoing conditions though… They point to difficulties in breathing posed by slash burning of wood waste or the continuing practice of residents using wood-burning stoves. The Record contacted Mosaic Forest Management (TimberWest), which operates in the region, about slash burning. A company spokesperson said Mosaic is not burning in the region this spring and rarely does, adding there are no plans to do so until October. As well, the Ministry of Forests…responded, “The BC Wildfire Service is monitoring the COVID-19 situation to determine whether it could have an impact on prescribed burning, wildfire risk mitigation projects, open burning and any related open fire restrictions.”

Read More

Vancouver Island man copes with stunning diagnosis after logging accident

The Parksville Qualicum Beach News
March 22, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jayme & Ryan Johnson

PORT ALBERNI, BC — The wife of a logger seriously injured on the job now considers the accident a “godsend.” Ryan Johnson, a faller, injured his back in the woods near Campbell River March 12 when a large tree struck him in the lower back, shattering part of his spine. He was initially flown to North Island Hospital in Campbell River before being transferred to Vancouver General, where he underwent back surgery the next morning. …“By chance, they found a large mass next to his adrenal gland,” said Ryan’s wife, Jayme Johnson. “It is so large they need to get it out as soon as possible.” …In retrospect, the falling accident was almost a godsend, she said.

Read More

BC Forest Safety Council’s Response to COVID-19

BC Forest Safety Council
March 17, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The safety and well-being of our forest industry partners, their employees and families is our priority. The spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) is a rapidly evolving situation and the World Health Organization has declared that COVID-19 is now categorized as a global pandemic. The province of BC and the government of Canada have been focusing on containing the spread of COVID- 19 to help slow the transmission of the virus and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. As a health and safety association, the BCFSC’s mandate is to foster, encourage and promote the health and safety of workers and workplaces in the BC forest sector. …BCFSC is continuing to monitor the most up-to-date guidance and information as provided by the BC Center for Disease Control, The Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization. One of our responses to COVID-19 is to provide resources and links from these credible health organizations to keep you apprised of the situation as it continues to unfold.

Read More

COVID-19 (coronavirus): Protect yourself, co-workers, friends and family from respiratory illness

BC Forest Safety Council
March 9, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The most important step we can take to prevent infection or illness for ourselves, our families, friends and co-workers is to practice good basic hygiene and take simple precautions. This is critical whether it is the flu, the common cold, or the current risk of COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus). The transmission of any virus threat will be stopped if everyone takes the proper precautions for their own protection. In doing so, we also protect others by reducing the probability of secondary transmission. Here are some guidelines and tips to help you stay healthy and safe:

  • Wash your hands frequently

  • Maintain social distancing

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  • Practice respiratory hygiene

  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care

  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Read More

Suspicious package found at Gorman Bros. mill not threatening

By Miriam Halpenny
Castanet
March 3, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

West Kelowna RCMP have determined that a suspicious package found at the Gorman Bros. Lumber mill yesterday morning was not dangerous. RCMP attended the business at about 8:30 a.m. after employees found the package which was addressed to a specific employee.  Due to the nature of the package, RCMP requested assistance from the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit who then determined the package was not criminal in nature. …”The package contained items returned to us from a former employee, and when followed on by the RCMP, the former employee was regretful and said that there was no intention to create the elevated response that occurred.”

Read More

Suspicious package found at Gorman Bros. mill

By Miriam Halpenny
Castanet
March 2, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

WESTBANK, BC — Employees discovered a strange package addressed to a specific employee outside of the Gorman Bros. Lumber mill this morning. “An unusual package was left outside the front office door addressed to someone in management,” says Gorman Group CEO Nick Arkle.  “As a precaution, we asked the RCMP to attend our site and address the package. Although we may be overly cautious in this case, our number one priority is for the protection and safety of our employees.” RCMP have since cordoned off the area while officers wait for the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit to attend. They will then determine if the package is a threat.

Read More

Manufacturing Advisory Group Establishing System to Predict and Eliminate High Severity Events

By Lana Kurz, Interfor and David Murray, Gorman Group
BC Forest Safety Council
March 1, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The forest industry needs to get ahead of the next crisis in safety. We need to predict injuries and proactively respond. One way is to look at how workers are getting hurt and to assess and respond to all recordable injuries, including minor injuries. But what about those incidents that had potential to be much more serious but where no one was actually hurt? Do we go far enough to identify and investigate these events – where a life-altering injury or fatality was thankfully dashed? Or do we spend our time and resources investigating incidents where the worst possible outcome was only the relatively minor injury that actually occurred? For years, the forest industry has paid close attention to the Medical Incident Rate (MIR) as well as the recordable injuries that contribute to this statistic. However, some Manufacturing Advisory Group (MAG) companies are looking at different ways to prioritize safety resources, based on Significant Incident Failure Potential events.

Read More

Wood Pellet Association of Canada Safety Committee releases 2020 work plan

Wood Pellet Association of Canada
January 20, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada’s Safety Committee was established in 2014 with the mission of improving the wood pellet industry’s collective safety performance, earning a reputation with regulatory authorities and the public as an industry that is highly effective at managing safety, and learning and sharing best practices regarding safety. The Safety Committee is proud of its 2019 accomplishments… We have now released our 2020 work plan as part of our objective to hold our industry publicly accountable for our safety performance. WPAC’s Safety Committee works in close cooperation with WorkSafeBC and the BC Forest Safety Council.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?”

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

Workplace worries: Cape Breton employees say employers not taking COVID-19 seriously

By Sharon Montgomery
The Chronicle Herald
March 25, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

…The Cape Breton Post received a number of calls from worried Nova Scotia employees the past number of days, a province where a state of emergency has been declared. …An employee of Kent Building Supplies in Sydney said there have been concerns about not enough social distancing and even an employee forced to work after 811 advised them to self-isolate. The worker said there is a confidential number though the J.D. Irving company – which owns Kent’s – for concerns. The worker called and on Tuesday there were major changes in the building including customers limited to eight in the store at a time. …However, he said they are still being informed a doctor’s note would be needed to be off sick, although the province announced that wasn’t required during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More

Scientists lend lab equipment to Quebec hospitals to test for COVID-19

The Canadian Press in CTV News
March 24, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — Scientists from Natural Resources Canada are loaning some of their lab equipment to Quebec hospitals as part of an effort to increase COVID-19 testing capabilities. The tools are normally used by scientists who study genetics in trees and insects. DNA extraction methods are the same in all living organisms, explained the Laurentian Forestry Centre with Natural Resources Canada. Once brought to the hospitals, the devices will be used to analyze samples taken from patients suspected of having COVID-19 to detect genetic material specific to the virus. …The tools will be sent to the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval, the CIUSSS de la Mauricie and the CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches sometime this week.

Read More

COVID-19 will spread like a forest fire. We need to control the burn as best we can

Ashleigh Tuite and David Fisman, epidemiologists, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
The Globe and Mail
March 18, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

How many people might get infected? How many people might die? When will this all end? …A fundamental property of communicable diseases is that we need both infected people to spread the disease and susceptible people to become infected. … There is no vaccine for COVID-19, although there is hope that one is on the horizon… Those infected with COVID-19 are sparks being thrown off and those uninfected are the fuel. We know that the fire is going to spread, but we want to control the burn as best we can. …It is clear, from both modelling studies and the experience of countries such as Italy and Spain, that we need to act early to save lives. The time to implement wide-scale social distancing is before you have a crisis. …We can change the course of this pandemic, but it will require all of us to make dramatic, disruptive and potentially prolonged changes to our lives…

Read More

Arnprior ordered to get to the bottom of dump contamination

By Stu Mills
CBC News
March 12, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Gilles Brothers Sawmill (1940s)

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has given Arnprior until June 30 to determine the origin of contaminated water that’s been leaching from the area around the town’s dump. The nearly 60-year-old landfill sits on a ridge about 500 metres from the Ottawa River. Analysis… uncovered unacceptable levels of organic carbons as well as iron, boron, barium and other compounds. …But the question of who or what was responsible for the leachate is as murky as the water. …The Gillies Brothers sawmill, where millions of board feet of pine lumber were sawn between 1873 until 1968, operated on much of the same land. …McMahon worked for the Gillies for a several years and remembers watching freshly cut lumber fed through a dip of Permatox, a formulation of the pesticide and disinfectant Pentachlorophenol, to prevent discolouration. …But a recent report… suggests there may be additional causes for the contamination.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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)

Read More

Trucking Is Deadly for Truckers, and Lots of Other People

By Justin Fox
BNN Bloomberg
February 21, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

Of the major industries for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported workplace fatality rates for 2018, truck transportation was the most dangerous, with 28 deaths per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers. …To be sure, there are jobs more dangerous … one finds fatality-rate estimates of 67.5 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers for fishing, hunting and trapping, and 64 for logging… But trucking is of an entirely different scale than any of those industries or occupations: There are about 1.5 million people working in the truck transportation industry, and 3.6 million driver/sales workers and truck drivers (of whom 1.8 million drive heavy-duty tractor-trailer trucks). Driver/sales workers and truck drivers account for 2.3% of the workforce, and 18.4% of occupational fatalities. Also, trucking is not just dangerous for the truck drivers. In fact, about 80% of the fatalities in road accidents involving heavy trucks in recent years have been people not in the trucks.

Read More

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration Fines Mid-Columbia Lumber Products

By Stefanie Valentic
EHS Today
March 2, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

MADRAS, OREGON — Multiple safety violations were discovered at Culver, Ore.-based Mid-Columbia Lumber Products following an accident at the company’s Madras, Ore. worksite. In September 2019, a company employee attempted to put a moving chain back on the track of a moulder outfeed chain conveyor while the equipment was engaged. According to Oregon OSHA’s accident report, the worker’s left hand was dragged into the machine’s rotating sprocket causing serious injury. “There is simply no reason to expose workers to hazards that we have long known how to control or eliminate,” said Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA. “To repeatedly violate safety standards – standards that exist to protect people from harm – is the height of recklessness.” The state-run agency discovered six violations in total; half of those were repeat citations. …The total proposed penalty amount is $8,610.

Read More

Drax achieves industry-leading safety record

Drax Group Inc.
March 6, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Drax achieved an industry-leading safety record during 2019 with Morehouse BioEnergy, one of its compressed wood pellet plants located in Bastrop, surpassing the two-year mark with no recordable safety incidents. At its port operation in Baton Rouge, the company has achieved five and a half years with no lost time or recordable injuries. “We are proud to have achieved these safety milestones which are a testament to an ever-growing focus, mindset and culture built around operating safely,” said Matt White, Senior Vice President of Drax Biomass. “The safety of our employees, vendors and suppliers is priority one at Drax, and we continually evaluate, train and hone our processes and procedures to create an environment that is conducive to success.”

Read More

Oregon OSHA Cites Lumber Company for Six Violations

Occupational Health & Safety Online
February 27, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Oregon OSHA cited Mid-Columbia Lumber Productions for six violations of job safety rules in connection with an accident investigation of the company’s worksite in Madras. Half of the six violations are repeat offenses. Mid-Columbia Lumber Productions, which manufacturers framing lumber, has one violation for exposing workers to serious harm or death by not controlling the hazards involved in maintaining a powered machine—an outfeed conveyor. In another citation, the company subjected workers to the dangers of getting caught in an unguarded rotating sprocket. …Oregon OSHA opened the investigation of Mid-Columbia Lumber Products in September 2019 after an accident where a worker attempted to put a moving chain back on the track of a moulder outfeed chain conveyor while it was still operating.

Read More

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.”

Read More

These are the most dangerous jobs in America

By Nancy Clanton
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 5, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

… There were 5,250 fatal job-related injuries in 2018 (the latest year numbers are available), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a slight increase from the previous year. To determine the 25 most dangerous jobs in America, website 24/7 Wall St. reviewed fatal injury rates for 71 occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program. These occupations are ranked based on the number of fatal accidents in 2018 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Fishers and related fishing workers are No. 2. Being a fisher means working with nets and gear on slippery decks. If an accident happens, medical help is often far away. …Edging out fishers to take the top spot is last year’s No. 2 occupation: logging workers. In 2018, 56 loggers died, and 1,040 incurred nonfatal injuries. The most common cause of death was “contact with metal objects and equipment.” To make things worse, the median annual wage is only $40,650.

Read More

Family sues over death of Missouri worker in wood chipper

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 27, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The family of a man who died after falling into a wood chipper at a St. Joseph sawmill is suing the manufacturer of the machine. …the minor children of Joshua Hill allege in the lawsuit filed last week that Williams Patent Crusher and Pulverizer Co. didn’t have any built-in safety features for its XR430 Hog Wood Chipper. Hill fell into the machine in March 2018 while working for American Walnut Co., which makes lumber products for gunstocks and furniture. As the operator, Hill was supposed to be stationed in a small shed above the machine where wood pieces were fed into an opening in the machine. The petition says the machine lacked an automatic shut-off, an emergency stop button or rope, guards, flaps or other methods to protect operators of the wood chipper. It also alleges that no warning signs or instructions were provided with the machine.

Read More

World Trade Organization Cancels Meetings At Geneva Headquarters Following COVID-19 Case

By Elaine Ruth Fletcher
Health Policy Watch
March 10, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

The World Trade Organization’s director general Roberto Azevêdo announced on Tuesday that he was suspending all WTO meetings at its Geneva offices, following the confirmation of a COVID-19 case among staff. It was the first publicly-announced case of the novel coronavirus infection at a Geneva-based United Nations or UN-affiliated organization since the epidemic began, which has seen a the recent acceleration of reported cases in Switzerland. …World Health Organization… also announced a series of dramatic new measures to protect staff and the headquarters’ work premises from infection, including: self-monitoring by staff of their health status before coming to work; installation of thermoscanners in main entrances; establishment of isolation areas; restriction of visitor access to the premises, and ramping up of virtual meetings.

Read More

Forestry business paying bonuses to drug-free employees (AUDIO STORY)

By Mike Hosking
News Talk ZB
March 5, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

One forestry business owner is trying to turn around drug habits 100 bucks at a time. Intta-wood industry limited pay their staff up to $100 each time they pass their drug test as an incentive to make good lifestyle choices for the business and their families. There are also a number of incentives, if you stay there long enough, that equate to around $3500 dollars over the course of the year. Inta-wood forestry limited owner Nathan Fogden joined Mike Hosking to explain why he has decided to take this action. 

Read More

Coronavirus sees logging crews across New Zealand down tools

By Florence Kerr, Luke Kirkeby & Libby Wilson
Stuff.co.nz
February 3, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Forestry crews across New Zealand have downed tools as contractors close operations due to the coronavirus.   The infection prompted shutdowns which left few people working in Chinese ports, causing slowdowns which have an effect on Kiwi exporters and those who buy in Chinese products.  Logging workers who contacted Stuff said they were told to go home and crews across the country were affected.  The processing slowdown at Chinese ports comes as the country deals with the coronavirus, declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the end of January.  …Chinese ports are accepting ships with exports from New Zealand, Te Uru Rākau ­- Forestry New Zealand said, but an extended new year holiday period means there aren’t many workers to unload them.

 

Read More

Forest owners wary of closing access risk in China

By the NZ Forest Owners’ Association
Scoop Independent News
February 3, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

New Zealand log exporters are bracing themselves for supply chain problems in China due to the outbreak of coronavirus.  Some forest owners are already reducing their harvesting rate. Regrettably this will have an immediate effect on harvesting crew employment.  The New Zealand Forest Owners Association says that the extended Lunar New Year public holiday makes it difficult to know what is going to happen when sawmills in China restart.  Association President Peter Weir says he understands that log ships continue to be unloaded, but he says we need to wait to determine what the offtake volume of logs might be after the traditional New Year break. There is industry concern that if the virus were to infect more people in coastal towns and cities then access to Chinese ports could be restricted with little warning.

Read More

Nelson forestry contractors brace for flow-on effects of coronavirus

By Tim O’Connell
Stuff.co.nz
February 4, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

NELSON, New Zealand — As forestry crews across New Zealand down tools due to effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the Nelson region is yet to follow suit despite concerns being raised by forestry contractors who depend on log exports for their livelihood. …Logging workers in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty had been told to go home with no word on a return to work. …Port Nelson Limited… was buoyed by a growth in log volumes driven by increased Chinese demand. …Some sectors, such as crayfish, had been affected almost immediately and forestry was the next industry to be significantly affected due to the build-up of log inventories already in place with in China.

Read More

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.”

Read More