Safety in Forestry Industry Focus of Upcoming Conference
Prince George, B.C. – The third annual Interior Safety Conference is coming back to Prince George in May.
Hosted by the BC Forest Safety Council, the theme this year is “Leading Safety – Building Strong Supervisors” and will include sessions on building stronger teams, communicating with different generations of workers, and managing fatigue at work.
Gerard Messier, manager of program development with the BC Forest Safety Council, says it will also focus on steep slope logging.
“We will look at everything from how to make chip haul trucks more fuel efficient to equipment on steep slopes.”
He says the main conference will take place Saturday, May 27, and says they’re also looking at running a shorter event a day earlier.
“It’ll probably be a lunch and learn activity – we’re going to bring people in for lunch and then have a few presentations after that. We’re going to focus on log truck drivers though we’re still finalizing the details.”
Messier says the conference is free though attendees must register (you can do so by clicking here).
The conference will take place inside Kin 1 and will happen during the Canada North Resources Expo at CN Centre.
“Hosted by the BC Forest Safety Council, the theme this year is “Leading Safety – Building Strong Supervisors” and will include sessions on building stronger teams, communicating with different generations of workers, and managing fatigue at work.”
Well so they are finally going to look at safety in the forest industry.
Good deal. They can start by looking at the hours of service in the logging industry. Presently you are allowed to work 15 hrs a day hauling logs. Of which 13 of those hours can be driving time. The other 2 hours made up of general work time. For a highway truck 14 hrs a day of which 13 can be driving time. These hours of service can be fudged quiet easily when doing them manually. Conmanly known as creative book keeping in a lot of cases this is the norm. Fatigue is a fact of life in the trucking industry regardless of what you are hauling and until on-board computers to keep track of hours of service are made mandatory employers will push their drivers to work well beyond what they are legally allowed to work. Their are a lot of companies that don’t push their drivers but there are a lot that do.
“We’re going to focus on log truck drivers though we’re still finalizing the details.”
In the logging industry where a piece of equipment is worth x amount of dollars and has to be paid for in a a certain time frame, when the rate drops for that machinery and the cost go up guess what. Your going to have to work it longer to get the same amount of money. This is the same whether it is a buncher, a skidder or a logging truck. With the logging truck they are out on the public hy-ways though. Now you have fatigued drivers barrelling down the road with 140,000 of logs. It is no different for the freight trucks either.
On the bush roads, Road maintenance is a big cost so one of the ways to cut back on cost is to pass the buck on road maintenance. A lot of bush roads are downright dangerous. Steep slopes and minimal if any sanding in the winter time is pretty much the norm. If you’ve hauled logs in the mountains in the winter you know what goes up must come down. Sometimes out of control. If your lucky you make it back down. If not so lucky, well you getting coloring books for Christmas.
On top of all this as the older drivers retire or just plain quit the caliber of the younger ones coming into the industry has dropped due to rate cutting, long hours and low wages. Some companies are resorting to bringing in people from other countries because they can not find enough drivers who are willing to work the long hours for poor wages and the younger kids coming up are not considering trucking as a viable career for those reasons. Now you have a bunch of people flying up and down the road with very little skill, driving way to fast for the conditions causing accidents. Their needs to be a graduated licensing system for trucks and at the very least a minimum set of skills required before going out on public hy-ways alone. This should also have seasonal limits as well. If you don’t know when to use chains or how to put the on you shouldn’t be out on the road endangering people. Employers should be held responsible to make sure their drivers are competent both mentally and with the proper skill level. This is not being met with the present licensing system. Age does not have a bearing on whether a person would be competent to become a driver. I know a lot of young people who are good drivers. All it takes is a willingness to learn and a professional attitude. If we can put 25 year olds in an F-18 and teach them to fly and become good pilots surely we can teach young folks the proper skills to drive trucks.
I think the first place to start is attitude and work from there. With the right attitude you have the hard part behind you. The rest is simple.
Now you just have to make it worth while. If you are going to want to pay a trucker $17. an hr to drive and he can make $35. as a welder, plumber, or some other trade this is not rocket science. What would you prefer to do.
What a crock! I have extensive experience in that industry and you don’t have a clue.
And good luck finding anyone willing to drive for $17 per hr. Or less than $400 per day.
$400 per day … 15-17 hour day … if you figured it using standard labor board rules for overtime which the industry is exempt from …. your probably making $17 per hour.
17 hours at $17/hr = $289/day.
No wonder truckers can’t tell time …. LOL
Newsflash – no driver is allowed to work 17 hrs, not more than 15 hours per day, and that includes down time. Not one minute over or he can be shut down for 3 days.
Most haul days are shorter, usually around 12 – 13 hours for that $400. If he’s working 15 hrs every day, he’s making a lot more than that.
When I hauled logs it as closer to $500 a day. It still wasn’t enough for all the down time and some of the risky runs. My brother in law was paying $800 a day up in Mackenzie last year before, selling his extra truck and going back to coal where he makes a little less but it’s more steady and less down time for repairs and what not.
Yeah, I’m aware that some companies pay more but I thought I would stick to the figures from when I last drove. Wherever they’re driving they’re making a pretty decent income. I never much cared for driving truck, I can operate all kinds of machinery so I could have done other jobs that I liked better. But there are pros and cons, and one thing I refused to do was work out of camp. Had enough of that, wouldn’t do it again, so trucking it was.
Dirtman, You are the one that has no clue. You should have some respect for other peoples’ experience in this industry.
I will agree to disagree with you on the safety of log truck drivers, all day long. You seem to be in the perfect world where everything is sunshine and rainbows.
There is a culture in that forestry world that has been handed down by generations and its time to address it before more log truck driver lives are lost. TOO many already this year. That’s the bottom line. It starts at the top… The companies paying for this wood.
I’ve been there, done it. Spent my working life in the logging industry. Time out’s comments are counter to everything I ever experienced. There’s no way he has experience there, and I would suggest, neither do you.
Log hauling is inherently dangerous, there’s no getting around that. Companies, contractors, employees, WCB and government agencies all work to mitigate that danger as much as possible, but accidents still happen, usually as a result of driver error. When they do happen, it’s very, very costly to the forest company, the contractor and the individual(s) involved. They all know that accidents cost, and they also know that the truckers can make the most money by legal truck, legal load, legal speed. Somebody has been telling you tall tales.
As per some of the comments from one of the more knowledgeable participants if you don’t think there are lot of drivers working for those low wages all you need to do is go down and sit on any of the roads especially on the Van – Cal/Edmonton corridor and talk to some of the drivers and see what they are making. You would be amazed. It is also frightening to see the skill level. A lot of them would not know what end of the truck to throw chains on. This is a fact.
And yes “Dirtman” I acknowledged you many years behind the wheel and I am sure you are making $400 for your 15 hr day but there are a lot of guys working for $200 and less. A lot of them aren’t worth that which is the maddening part. They are downright dangerous.
The logging has been sheltered from these lower dirt wages somewhat because hauling logs is not for everyone and it can be somewhat more dangerous but it is not far off. I have seen the rates steadily dropping there as well. If you don’t think so then I have some investments I would like you to take a look at.
djegun: You are pretty much bang on. It starts from the top. It starts from the company who owns the wood to the contractors in the bush doing the logging. You want to make it safer, cut the hours and increase the pay so you don’t have to go like a maniac for 15 hrs to make a living and look after the roads so they are safe right into the landing. But for the most part we know this won’t happen. It is basically lip service and pass the buck.
The attitude of some drivers is: I am a tough guy, I can work all day and night. Those other jobs are for wimps who can’t cut it. We don’t need road maintenance just turn the mirrors out so you don’t see what the trailer is doing. Want more money just work longer and drive faster and try to get to the next pullout before the load gets there. This is not only prevalent in the forest industry but on the highway as well. Don’t get me wrong it is not everyone. There are a lot of good drivers out there both in logging industry and on the hi-way but there are a lot that still have not made the connection between the way they operate and their income. As a whole we need to put a higher value on our time or find another trade that pays better.
Yes I have heard those stories before. Drivers making 4-5 hundred dollars a day but what they don’t tell you is they are working 14 hrs a day.
You’re correct, oldman1, they’re paid by weight delivered, not by the hour.
Where do you get that stuff, time out? Go interview the log haulers around here and find out what’s really going on in the woods.
Don’t confuse highway haulers in big cities with the local log haulers, there’s a huge difference.
I no longer drive, but I made a lot more than $400 for 15 hours. Nobody hauling logs in this area is doing it for $200. Nobody!
Lower dirt wages? Whatever that means. I doubt it applies.
Companies set the rates, they set the speed limits, they require truckers to have GPS and if they speed the company fines them. You think any driver is going to work 12 hours for $400 and then be happy about a $500 fine? And any driver dumb enough to go like a maniac would be fired forthwith.
Yes there are some guys who think they can drive 22 hours per day, that’s why there are rules and regulations to keep them in line. Dept. of transport, scales, police and companies all work to slow them down and obey regulations.
You will never, ever hear a trucker say “We don’t need road maintenance.” Truck drivers have a well deserved reputation as whiners when it comes to that. I have experience in maintaining those logging roads too, not just driving on them and I know how much effort goes into that.
Work longer and drive faster is counterproductive, the faster you get the load to the mill, the less you get paid for it.
You have demonstrated once again that you are clueless about this topic.
I think the big issue is that the BC liberals changed the labor standards act a few years back that removed overtime pay for truck drivers until after 11 hours. It use to be after 8 hours for hourly based employees just like all other occupations. Now at 11 hours the companies abuse this by making their drivers work longer hours with less pay.
I would never vote BC liberal because of that one issue. It tells me they are owned by big business and are against the working man. I wish we had a free enterprise party to vote for that believes in economic nationalism like Donald Trump.
I first drove logging truck in 1976. We were paid the same way back then, by weight delivered. When the NDP were last in power they announced that log truck drivers were going to be paid by the hour with overtime the same as other jobs. The drivers were furious. They and their logging associations protested loudly and vehemently and the NDP backed down. The drivers like the way they’re being paid.
I wouldn’t vote NDP either. I have always voted for independent candidates provincially. Just a protest vote. Although if the Green Party had a good candidate I might vote that way provincially even though I don’t support some of their policies. A little less of the identity politics with them and a few good policy ideas for small business.
I haven’t hauled logs for years, but I think most are paid by the weight still. Very few are hourly. The provincial change to hourly overtime mostly applies to local highway drivers.
Comments for this article are closed.