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Forestry High Risk Strategy

The 2018-2020 Forestry High Risk Strategy (HRS) is a renewed three-year strategy for prevention activities in harvesting and related operations. The intent of the Forestry High Risk Strategy 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 timber harvesting as follows:

  • Manual tree falling
  • Log transportation
  • Cable yarding
  • Mechanized harvesting
  • Silviculture

Silviculture has been included as one of the main focus areas as this sector generates a high volume of serious injuries.

In addition to the five main focus areas, which are based on different harvest phases or 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 in this classification unit with high injury rates, a sequence of high risk injuries, and/or poor compliance rates.

The 2018-2020 Forestry HRS will also aim to integrate hearing loss prevention, and phase congestion and roadside debris into its inspectional and outreach activities whenever opportunities arise.


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


  • Given the 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 shift in 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. 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.

Deliverables and timelines

Activities (2018–2020)


Inspections — Manual falling

  • Falling cuts
  • Danger tree windfall assessment and plans
  • Unnecessary brushing practices
  • New faller training programs, new faller safety, and adherence to training requirements
  • Roadside debris endangering workers
  • Phase congestion

Inspections — Mechanized harvesting on steep slopes with a specific focus upon tethered and traction assist machinery

  • Maintenance workplan and lockout
  • Three-point-contact procedures
  • Steep slope assessment plans
  • Safe operation of traction assist and tethered equipment

Inspections — Cable yarding

  • Clearing the turn
  • Yarding angles
  • Landing the log

Inspections — Log transporting

  • Driving and road assessment
  • Loading, offloading, and securing of load
  • Best practices for maintenance work (lockout, access, and egress)
  • Cab guards (bull boards) and seat belt use
  • Three-point-contact procedures

Inspections — Emergency response planning (ERP)

  • First aid assessment
  • Lack of ERP practice and testing
  • Daily plan for helicopter-only access
  • ERP review: ERPs properly communicated to workers and service providers, and routinely practised through realistic emergency drills

Inspections — Silviculture

  • ERP elements (as above)
  • Planning and conduction operation
  • Driver training and policies
  • Musculoskeletal injury (MSI) risk assessment
  • MSI program management
  • MSI education of workers

Hearing loss

  • Measure or review noise levels by location and job role, and assess existing mitigation strategies
  • Complete hearing conservation program assessments of existing, new, and young workers to identify exposure areas and risk-control opportunities

Faller Technical Advisory Committee

  • Act as a point of contact on Forestry HRS manual falling elements with the Faller Technical Advisory Committee

Resources for industry

  • Develop and distribute prevention resources designed to create awareness of the Forestry HRS, and awareness and tools for addressing risk and mechanisms of injury in the Forestry HRS focus areas, assisting with compliance with the OHS Regulation

FIAG activity with Forestry HRS content

  • Facilitate two Forest Industry Advisory Group (FIAG) meetings in support of Forestry HRS content

Updates and results

WorkSafeBC’S High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives identify and target industries and employers with a high risk of serious workplace injury and a significant contribution to the serious injury rate. Each strategy focuses prevention initiatives on identified areas of high risk in order to apply resources and effort where they will be most effective. As part of our strategic initiative to develop measures to assess the effectiveness of prevention activities, we are providing updates of our High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives.

Note: To save space in bulleted lists, our update documents may refer to occupational health and safety as OHS. All references to the Act, refer to Part Three of the Workers Compensation Act. Penalties and warning letters reported in updates may have been initiated by inspections in a previous quarter.

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