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Backgrounder: WorkSafeBC reminds fallers they must apply for certification by July 31

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As of July 31, 2005, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 26.21 & 26.22 come into effect. These particular regulations, address the need for faller qualifications and training.

These questions are meant to guide both the WorkSafeBC prevention field officer and employers and workers understand how the requirements of the regulation will be applied.

Who is responsible for evaluating, certifying and managing the faller certification/training process?

The B.C. Forest Safety Council

When are the requirements of 26.21 & 26.22 in effect?

The Vice-President's variance to these requirements ends as of July 31, 2005. From this date, all workers engaged in falling, employers and workplace parties engaged in forestry operations must comply with the requirements as stated.

How does an officer determine if a faller is certified?

During inspections, officers should ask to see the faller's log book or wallet sized certification card issued by the B.C. Forest Safety Council. All fallers who have been successfully evaluated will have one or both of these. Logbooks will be handed out immediately upon successful evaluation. Cards are distributed once the faller is entered to the database maintained by the BCFSC.

More than 1900 BC fallers are certified with an additional 2000 fallers registered and waiting for evaluation. It is estimated that it will take approximately one year for all registrations to be processed. All confirmed registrations prior to July 31, 2005 will be deemed to be reasonably attempting compliance.

Certified or registered fallers should produce a registration number when required. If they are unable, the B.C. Forestry Safety council is able to provide confirmation.

What are the criteria for logbooks?

It is the responsibility of the faller to retain the logbook. A faller must present a logbook when requested to do so by a WorkSafeBC prevention field officer, a qualified supervisor trainer or the faller's supervisor or employer. All entries in the logbook must be dated and signed by the faller supervisor/bull bucker who are persons authorized to make entries. The faller may not make any entries or changes to the logbook.

All logbooks that are lost or stolen must be reported to the BC Forest Safety Council.

Is the logbook a legal requirement?

The intent of the logbook is to assist employers in addressing due diligence by ensuring fallers working for them are trained to fall trees according to the species or timber type and in a terrain where they are aware of the hazards and procedures required to work safely. The logbook is a requirement of the BC Faller Training Standard, not a specific regulation. Officers may use the logbook to ensure the faller is indeed trained and aware of the hazards and risks associated with their work.

What will an officer do if a faller who is not certified or registered with BCFSC for evaluation/certification is found working after July 31, 2005?

A worker in a forestry operation must be trained or must have registered with B.C.F.S.C. before July 31, 2005. If neither has occurred, an order to worker under 26.22 is appropriate along with an order to the employer, prime contractor or owner, depending on the relationship that exists with that faller.

What about fallers who have some experience and training but do not qualify for the "Grand Fathering" clause under 26.22(2)(a)(two years of experience prior to April 15, 1998)?

They will be treated as new fallers and must be trained to the B.C. Falling Training Standard. The faller should contact the BCFSC as soon as possible. BCFSC will evaluate what training and experience the applicant has.

Can an officer stop a faller from falling if he is found not to be certified or registered?

WorkSafeBC cannot stop the faller if he is safely performing all aspects of his falling duties and with the exception of no certification is in compliance with all requirements under part #26. However, the employer in this particular circumstance must be advised that WorkSafeBC will undertake normal follow up to any non compliance matters and if it is determined that compliance is not achieved repeat orders and possible sanctions may occur.

How does an officer write an order if the faller is an independent operator and working alone?

Fallers, who work for an incorporated company, are required to register with WorkSafeBC and pay assessments for the person who is falling.

An "independent" faller who refuses to get certified, who works through their own company can be cited under 26.21 as the faller's employer.

If an officer finds a certified faller performing unsafe acts in non compliance with the B.C. Falling Training Standard, can the officer seize the certificate, suspend the falling activities and revoke the certification?

WorkSafeBC cannot seize a faller's certificate or revoke certification. WorkSafeBC can, however, issue an order to worker "O.T.W." for all regulatory infractions noted and address any employer, prime contractor or owner responsibilities through normal inspection protocols such as training or supervision.

WorkSafeBC cannot write any orders on deviations from the B.C. Falling Training Standard.

If a WorkSafeBC prevention field officer sees an unsafe act he/she must stop the act immediately and address corrective actions through normal inspection practices.

What about fallers who have the required experience but chose not to register before July 31, 2005 for evaluation and certification?

Unregistered fallers will be treated as new fallers. The provision for experienced fallers will end July 31, 2005. However, it is possible through the evaluation process, that the B.C. Forest Safety Council will adjust the training requirements to reflect the experience and training of this seasoned faller.

Is there a minimum size of tree that would apply to the requirement for a faller to be certified?

Yes. A worker felling a tree greater than 6" in diameter (10.5 cm), measured at "stump" height- 12" above ground or grade, is required to be certified in British Columbia.

Will WorkSafeBC field officers responsible for inspecting forestry operations be trained to the new B.C. Falling Training Standard?

Yes, regional WorkSafeBC offices will provide training to all forestry officers on the standard, the evaluation/certification process and Stop Check & Correct in the 4th quarter of 2005.

Is there a requirement to have WorkSafe BC forestry officers certified as fallers OR as qualified supervisor trainers?

No, there is no requirement for board officers to be certified. During the early stages of the "Grandfathering" of current fallers, WorkSafeBC needed to have some of our field staff trained as qualified supervisor trainers. This was required under 26.22(b) to meet the legal test of evaluating and certifying existing fallers. However, this level of training/certification is not needed in order to ensure compliance under 26.21 or 26.22.



For more information please contact:

   
For further information contact:
Gladys Johnsen
WCB Public Affairs Manager,
Prevention Division
604 214-5441 or toll-free in B.C. at 1 888 621-7233, local 5441
Or cell 604 908-0876
Tanner Elton, CEO
BC Forest Safety Council
Phone: 604 891-1214