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New tree falling guidelines improve B.C. forest safety
New guidelines specifying the qualifications of falling supervisors will improve safety for those working in the woods.
Effective April 1, 2013, all forestry-related falling activity under a Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations contract must have a designated falling supervisor, although the supervisor does not need to be at the site at all times.
The supervisor's role is to monitor the competency of fallers and to ensure that an appropriate falling plan is in place and being followed. The falling plan must include a hazard assessment and an appropriate emergency response plan. The plan must also specify regular safety check provisions for the crew. When necessary the plan must address procedures such as road closures, aircraft operations and blasting.
The new guidelines:
- Support industry best practices and industry's vision for professional falling operations.
- Place the onus on the contractor and provide clarity for the contractor to ensure appropriate supervision.
- Provide clear expectations to staff regarding hand falling projects under ministry operations and contracts.
The designated supervisor(s) must be qualified to the satisfaction of ministry contract administrators. Falling supervisors will be deemed qualified if they have completed the four-day Falling Supervisor Training program provided by the B.C. Forest Safety Council or are certified falling supervisors. In unique circumstances, other qualifications may be considered.
More than 600 forestry workers in B.C. have completed Falling Supervisor Training. The B.C. Forest Safety Council offers the four-day course at several sites in the province. Details are available at http://www.bcforestsafe.org/training/supervisors/bullbuckers.html