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Forest Worker Safety Network

fwsn 2008


Jury Deems Mill Death Accidental
FWSN Examines IMIRP Ergonomics Tool Kit - Drop Sorters Logging Video Feature Pick

fwsn 2008

Jury’s foreperson read the seven recommendations in Vernon Supreme Court in front of presiding coroner T.E. Chico Newell.

By Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star

Seven recommendations to the company, provincial forest safety council, B.C. Ambulance Service and WorkSafe B.C. have been made by a seven-person jury at the end of a coroner’s inquest into the workplace death of a Lumby man.

The six-man, one-woman jury classified Bradley Michael Thomas Haslam’s death at Tolko’s Lavington mill on June 15, 2013 as accidental, with the 18-year-old’s death caused by blunt trauma.

Haslam was found unresponsive by co-workers in an area near the mill’s No. 3 chipper. Resuscitation efforts by mill, ambulance and Vernon Jubilee Hospital personnel could not revive the Charles Bloom Secondary School grad, who began work at the mill in March 2013.

The four-day inquest heard that no one at the mill witnessed Haslam’s accident. He was a member of the mill’s clean-up crew, which generally hired younger workers who were given a training orientation booklet and a couple of safety videos to watch. Safety talks and tours, the inquest heard, are a regular component at the mill.

The jury’s foreperson read the seven recommendations in Vernon Supreme Court in front of presiding coroner T.E. Chico Newell, legal counsel for the coroner, WorkSafe B.C., Tolko, United Steelworkers union and Haslam’s family members. Four recommendations were made to WorkSafe B.C., the provincial organizations dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety for the workers and employers of this province.

“To develop an educational tool about the risks associated with worker fatigue,” read the foreperson. “To include worker fatigue as a component of a CORE audit; review and research with industry new training styles/curriculum for young/new workers; and that workplace inspections incorporate all shifts including day, afternoon, graveyard and weekend shifts.”

“I have communicated the recommendations to the board, and the board will have to review them and integrate them into its business processes, but I can’t speak for what that exact outcome will be,” said WorkSafe B.C. counsel Gerald Massing. “The board does take these things very seriously and is always interested in receiving input into the whole health and safety mandate. There’s always additional health and safety approaches to examine. We are engaged in that process, we will continue to be engaged in that process and we’re happy to receive these things as part of that process.”

The jury recommended Tolko produce an educational tool to share across all company operations and industry that describes the lessons learned, and depicts the safety standards accomplished, since Haslam’s death. “We will address and be implementing the jury’s recommendation,” said Don Hanson, Tolko spokesperson.

To the B.C. Forest Safety Council manufacturing advisory group, the jury recommended utilizing Tolko’s Lavington planer mill’s safety measures approach as a landmark. And it was recommended to the B.C. Ambulance Service that it ensure counseling be made available in a timely fashion to ambulance attendants following calls of traumatic arrest and similar critical incidents.

A total of 21 witnesses testified during the four-day inquest, with Newell giving his instructions to the jury Thursday night.

The jury deliberated for an hour before resuming Friday morning. The foreperson asked Newell if he could speak to the family. “We can’t even begin to share your grief,” he said. “Please accept our sincere condolences.” Haslam’s family declined to speak to the media after the inquest.

Courtesy of the Vernon Morning Star.

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IMIRP Common Sawmill Industry Job Ergonomic Tool Kits

In this installment, invites visitors to examine the IMIRP Ergonomic Tool Kit for Drop Sorter.

The Drop Sorter is an important position in the sawmill and is responsible for sorting the lumber that arrives at their workstation based on quality, thickness, width, length, species and distributing it to the appropriate workstations in the mill. The Drop Sorter will drop out obvious waste, such as edgings, slabs, marked lumber (export chain), and materials with obvious defects, to re-manufacturing stations such as trimmer, resaw, and edger, with emphasis on size recovery. The Drop Sorter may also be required to clear cross-ups occurring at the workstation, monitor infeed and outfeed chains, and clean up the work area.

What is IMIRP?

In 1997, WorkSafeBC (formerly the Worker’s Compensation Board), the Council of Forest Industries (COFI), and the Industrial Wood and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA-Canada) found common interest in reducing workplace injuries suffered in the forest industry – specifically in provincial sawmills. As a result of this partnering, the Industrial Musculoskeletal Injury Reduction Program Society (IMIRP) was formed and the society jointly produced a unique industry-wide approach to the reduction of musculoskeletal injuries in BC sawmills.

IMIRP evaluated 106 common sawmill industry jobs and developed a series of 66 “Tool Kits” that specifically deal with reducing injuries from an ergonomic perspective. The IMIRP Tool Kits provided the foundation for a sawmill ergonomic program and were designed for implementation through the Joint Health and Safety Committee at the plant level. The previously featured Madill 124 Grapple Yarder video brings workplace ergonomics back under the bright light of injury prevention and plans to focus that light on sawmill ergonomics in upcoming website updates.

Sadly, the IMIRP program fell on hard times and the society no longer exists. But will take a close look at both the “nuts and bolts” of injury prevention through ergonomic workplace design and the work done by IMIRP by examining some of the Common Sawmill Industry Job Tool Kits that were offered to the sawmill industry 10 years ago. will post IMIRP Tool Kits on this website over the coming months so members and visitors can decide for themselves if ergonomic considerations could play a part in their workplace occupational healthy and safety programs. 

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is not something that most forest workers know alot about. In fact, many forest workers have never even heard of the field of ergonomic study. For those people, the field of ergonomics can be described as a scientific discipline that seeks to understand and improve human interactions with products, equipment, environments and systems – equipment being the key aspect in the Madill video mentioned above. While the field of ergonomics aims to develop and apply knowledge and techniques to optimize equipment performance, the main purpose of ergonomics is to protect the health, safety and well-being of individuals operating equipment and/or completing repetitive work tasks. So it’s important for equipment manufacturers to develop sound ergonomic controls for the operators of their equipment and it’s equally important that employers develop sound work procedures for employees as they complete the responsibilities assigned to them.

How does all this come to rest on It falls within the scope of workplace injury prevention and the finds the subject matter appropriate enough to pass onto its members. FWSN feels that workplace ergonomics is something that forest workers might like to explore in an effort to gain a better understanding of the field of study for themselves and/or for their own workplace.

Click here for IMIRP Implementation Guide in pdf format.
Click here for IMIRP Body Manual in pdf format.
Click here for IMIRP General Risk Factor Solutions Manual in pdf format.      [top]

Something to say about this story? Leave your comment on the Logger's Forum.

FWSN Media Room

The Forest Worker Safety Network regularly reviews logging videos on The video below is our feature pick for this month. Click the video screen if you wish to enlarge the video for viewing on in new browser window on the website.  [back to top]

Challenger Logging Trucks: MB Sproat Lake Logging Division

Challenger Manufacturing Ltd. was a British Columbia-based Canadian manufacturer of heavy trucks, that built both highway and off road trucks, particularly for the logging industry, under the Challenger, Custom Built for Heavy Industry, brand. Challenger was founded by John Casanave in Port Alberni, Vancouver Island in 1987. They began to rebuild Hayes, Pacific and Kenworth heavy trucks, and later moved to manufacture sturdy, easy to maintain trucks using OEM components, like Mack or Cummins engines. Challenger was active from 1987 to 1994, but only 14 units seem have been made. A later attempt in Australia to revive the make, marketing it as Extreme Heavy Duty Trucks, was eventually unsuccessful.

In this video, take a ride in one of the Challenger trucks that hauled out of MB Sproat Lake Division and in this case, a ride up Ash Main near Great Central Lake onto a sidehill for a load. Notice the unique system for piggy-backing the unloaded pole trailer and how the trailer is eased down for a load when arriving at the landing. This truck could be H160 and was one of only a few preloaders. Video courtesy of Torkel Hofseth.

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Day of Mourning - April 28th

Forest Worker Safety Network

The Forest Workers Safety Network (FWSN) is an initiative of United Steelworkers (USW) District 3, which represents over 20,000 forest workers in British Columbia.

In light of rising forest industry fatalities and injuries, the FWSN has been formed as a response to a demand for a worker-focused information and networking system. The FWSN is available to all BC forest workers, at no cost, whether or not they are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The FWSN is initiating its activities by disseminating information developed for BC Coastal loggers and woodlands employees, from stump to dump and beyond. We are also collecting information on safety issues in the sector and on urgent and pressing issues that groups of workers and individuals face. We provide general health and safety information and information on the USW’s ongoing efforts to stop needless fatalities and injuries.

There will be regular communications for all workers who sign up.

Join the Forest Workers Safety Network today!  [top]

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Forest Workers Safety Network - 2009