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WFP Hazard Alert
Click here to view the WFP Hazard Alert.

Click here to view the 2005 Stop The Killing: BC Forest Fatalty Summit video.

WorkSafe BC & You - Assistance with filling out claim forms, reporting unsfae workplaces, and getting a WorkSafe BC Inspector to your worksite.

Click here for your information on your right to refuse unsafe work.

Safe Workplaces... Our Right, Our Responsibility

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Forest Worker Safety Network

fwsn 2008


It's Your Call - The Right To Refuse Unsafe Work
Top Eight Tips for Avoiding Ticks Logging Video Feature Pick

fwsn 2008

Workers in BC have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Workers in BC have the right to refuse unsafe work.Imagine that you're a new construction worker and your supervisor tells you to work on a scaffold that you notice is not secured. Do you continue — risking serious injury or death if it collapses — or do you refuse? Would you worry about appearing afraid in front of your fellow workers, or even being fired for complaining? If so, you need to know that you have the legal right to refuse unsafe work and to not be discriminated against for your complaint.

Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation protects workers from participating in unsafe work if it presents an imminent hazard that could result in death or serious injury. There is also a regulatory process that must be followed. Let's look at the process through another example.

A tree faller is asked to bring down a particularly hazardous tree and he feels he doesn't have the necessary skills to do the job safely. The first step is for him to say to his supervisor, "I can't do that. It's too dangerous for me." At this point, the supervisor must agree to immediately investigate the matter. A satisfactory solution could be that the supervisor will find a more experienced faller to fall the tree while providing training to the first faller. Or, a different falling technique, such as blasting, could be used if it's safe.

But if the supervisor can't — or won't — remedy the situation and orders the faller to continue working, then the worker must notify a member of the company's joint health and safety committee to secure the committee's help in furthering the refusal. If there is no committee, the worker can enlist a co-worker representing their union, or if not unionized then another available co-worker, to assist in finding a solution to the refusal of unsafe work. If this fails to settle the matter, then both the supervisor and the worker refusing the work need to notify a WorkSafeBC officer to investigate the matter. The WorkSafeBC officer will immediately attend the site of the refusal and conduct an investigation into the matter. The WorkSafeBC officer will then issue an inspection report that verifies the complaint in either the worker's favour or the employer's. The inspection report must be issued before the officer leaves the site.

Workers in BC have the right to refuse unsafe work.

What if the tree faller is afraid of repercussions at work because he complained? Section 3.13 protects workers from being discriminated against as a result of the refusal of unsafe work or a specific health and safety issue. However, the onus would be on the worker to bring a discrimination complaint to a WorkSafeBC officer's attention.

When is it not appropriate to refuse unsafe work? Again, the risk must be imminent; workplace actions that could result in serious injury or death are considered to be legitimate in applying the right to refuse unsafe work. Complaints about indoor air quality, for example, would not fall under section 3.12. Trying to avoid work, or getting back at an employer for another workplace grievance, would also not apply, as the procedure needs to be proven to a WorkSafeBC officer.

While the regulation applies to all B.C. workers, it is younger workers in the province's primary industries who are most at risk of not knowing their rights and being susceptible to peer pressure. They need to know that section 3.12 will protect them from imminent danger if they follow the procedure.

This Nancy Neill story is courtesy of WorkSafeBC Magazine.


Because ticks need blood to survive, they live in areas frequented by potential mammal hosts - that includes forest workers.

Private Forest Landowners Association Blog

As a forest worker, you spend lots of time in the woods.

Because known cases of Lyme disease are on the rise in Canada, the Private Forest Landowners Association has put together an article about how to identify ticks, how to avoid ticks, and how to properly remove a tick should you need to.

What are ticks?
Ticks are tiny bugs, about the size of a sesame seed. They’re arachnids, closely related to spiders, and distinguishable from insects by their eight legs. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but they wait on tall grasses or bushes and attach themselves to humans and animals as they pass by.

Because they need blood to survive, ticks live in areas frequented by potential mammal hosts. Areas with dense deer populations are often hotspots.

Why are ticks a problem?
The trouble with ticks is they carry diseases that can be passed on when they bite. The risk of getting a tick bite is greatest in the spring and into the fall when the weather is warm (but in mild climates without much snow ticks can also be active in the winter).

What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in North America. It takes its name from where it was first identified: Lyme, Connecticut. It can cause serious, long-term disability if left untreated. Early antibiotic treatment is essential, so identification of the disease in its early stages is very important.

Do all ticks carry Lyme disease?
No, not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Two species—Ixodes pacificus found along the western coastal region of Canada, and the more predominant Ixodes scapularis found in the western, central and eastern regions—are most likely to carry the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

These two species are commonly referred to as the black-legged tick or deer tick. Their main hosts are deer and white-footed mice, but song birds are widening areas where ticks are found. Both species evolve in four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult.

You can find more information about identifying ticks on the Canadian Lyme Disease website.

Where to look for ticks on your body?
Ticks prefer warm, moist areas of the body. If a tick latches onto your socks or shoes it will make its way up to your groin area. If your sleeve or arm brushes up against some tick-infested grass, they’ll make their way up to your armpit instead.

Always check these areas first then check the rest of your body. Pay particular attention to any areas that have hair, especially on your head and face. It’s easy for ticks to hide in hair. On both humans and pets, ticks love to attack behind and around the ears.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
When someone is bitten by a tick, it typically takes a week or more for symptoms of lyme disease to show up. The most common symptoms are:

  • fever

  • chills

  • headache

  • joint pain

  • swollen lymph glands

The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Ticks favour moist, shaded environments; especially leafy wooded areas and overgrown grassy habitats.

Check this detailed map to find Lyme disease and endemic risk areas in Canada.

Top 8 tick habitat precautions

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.

  • Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin. Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.

  • Walk on pathways or trails when possible staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.

  • Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially at the openings such as ankle, wrist and neck.

  • Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.

  • Do daily “full body” checks for ticks on yourself, your children and your pets.

  • If you find a tick on your skin, remove it within 24 to 36 hours.

  • If you’re someone who regularly spends time in high-risk areas, you can find more detailed tips for high-risk areas on the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation website.

How to properly remove a tick?
In the video below, University of Manitoba tick expert Kateryn Rochon explains the proper way to remove a tick.

Blog post courtesy of the Private Forest Landowners Association website.


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.  [top]

MB 1044 -Trip To Chemainus Log Dump

This month, a video about logging trains. In the late 1960s, Chemainus was every bit a forestry town and with a big sawmill on the waterfront and an oversized planer on the bench next to town, MacMillan Bloedel furnished paychecks for a large number of middle-class workers in the area. Add to that a very long loading shed to send lumber by rail to Nanaimo and Victoria, and their Copper Canyon forestlands and tide-water boom grounds... well, it put Chemainus on the world map as one of the largest forest products producers in the world. To feed the sawmill, logs came by rail and truck -- trucked down from copper canyon and by rail from Nanaimo Lakes. It was pretty common to see E&N log trains handing off a necklace of full cars to the MB Chemainus crew on the south end of town. From there, the log train was taken down to the waterfront to be dumped by the MacMillan Bloedel crew.

This video is of that journey - a late 1960s trip to the log dump recorded by Dave Wilkie on 8mm film which documented the short trip from the E&N interchange at Chemainus to the Chemainus log dump and back. In the era when this film was taken, MacMillan Bloedel used one of two steam locomotives for this service - the 1044 (as in this video) and the 1066. Courtesy of Mike Dunham-Wilkie.

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Safe Workplaces... Our Right, Our Responsibility

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FWSN Tailgate Talk

Safe Workplaces... Our Right, Our Responsibility

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!  [back to top]

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Forest Workers Safety Network - 2009