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Forestry High Risk Strategy

The 2021–2023 Forestry High Risk Strategy (HRS) is a comprehensive prevention strategy to address workplace safety in forestry operations. The intent of the Forestry HRS is to execute focused and impactful inspectional activity in those areas of the timber harvesting segment that represent exceptional risk to workers.

Identified high risk work activities typically fall into five areas of operations:

  • Manual tree falling
  • Log transportation
  • Cable yarding
  • Mechanized harvesting (primary focus will be on steep slope and tethered/winch-assist operations in 2021–2023)
  • Silviculture (see additional information on our approach for silviculture inspections for 2021)

In addition to the five main focus areas, which are based on different harvest phases and related activities, emergency response planning (ERP) has also been identified as a critical target area for the Forestry HRS because of a number of serious ERP failures documented at forestry workplaces through incident investigations.

Due to the continuing high injury rate in hand falling, a dedicated inspection team will focus on employers who are involved in manual tree falling and are associated with high injury rates, a sequence of high risk injuries, and/or poor compliance rates.

Our goals

The goals of the 2021–2023 HRS are to:

  • Raise awareness and promote adherence to safe practices
  • Reduce the serious injury and fatal injury rates in the top risk exposure categories in forestry operations

Our focus

  • Because of the largely seasonal nature of forestry work, an element of seasonal approach is also incorporated into the Forestry HRS. Officers in different regions of the province will continue to have the latitude to adjust their inspectional focus to reflect seasonal variability.
  • Sustained compliance requires the commitment and support of on-site employers as well as those parties with higher-level responsibilities related to proper planning and execution of the work, and this will continue to be a priority. When repeat or high-risk violations occur, officers will review the roles and activities of all worksite parties to ensure their responsibilities are being fulfilled in a sustained manner.
  • Starting in 2019, the Forestry HRS has included an additional focus on phase congestion that results from poor phase integration. Phase integration is the practice of incorporating multiple harvesting phases within a single operating area. Without proper planning, these areas can become overcrowded or jammed, leading to phase congestion. Phase congestion is an industry-wide problem and has resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.
  • The 2021–2023 Forestry HRS also aims to address hearing loss prevention, the continued risk of phase congestion, and risks associated with construction-related roadside debris.

What you can do

A healthy and safe workplace is a shared responsibility. The following resources will help you better understand and address some of the health and safety issues to focus on in your industry. For more resources and information, please visit our Forestry pages.