Truck LoggerBC - Winter 2016
There is a shift in British Columbia and internationally toward more harvesting on increasingly steeper sites. There are several international research agencies focusing on the mechanization of steep slope operations with visions similar to that adopted by the New Zealand Forest Owners Association’s Steep Land Harvesting Program: “No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw.” The mechanization of felling, bunching, shoveling, processing, skidding, etc. provides a protected and safer environment for forestry workers. Exposure to hazards is greatly reduced compared to manual methods.
Steep terrain winch-assist machinery for forestry has been commercially available in Europe since the 1990s and in New Zealand it was pioneered by contractor Ross Wood in 2006. Subsequent developments have led to rapid growth of the technology from a concept to a true harvesting system. There are 11 winch-assist systems currently available to the forest industry in British Columbia. The technology is being rapidly implemented in an effort to improve safety and productivity with the numbers of operating machines increasing exponentially. Currently 49 machines have been purchased or planned in Western Canada (chart below).
Most users of winch-assist systems claim safety is their leading priority when implementing this technology. In New Zealand, approximately 10 million m3 have been harvested with winch-assist equal to potentially two lives saved based on manual falling safety statistics. There had been no serious injuries or fatalities using these systems until June 2016 in New Zealand when a single cable bulldozer anchor machine was pulled down the hill pinning the operator of the felling machine under the dozer. The suspected cause for the incident was mechanical winch failure.
There have also been several New Zealand cases of cable failures (both single and double-cable systems), shackle or other connection failures, anchor failures, and machine rollovers without any serious injuries. These close calls have been great opportunities to learn. FPInnovations’ Steep Slope Initiative aims to facilitate international information sharing to ensure that any new safety measures and learnings are identified and communicated to BC stakeholders.
Timely relevant updates are compiled through regular international conference calls and collaboration with experts from New Zealand, USA, Austria, Germany, Australia, and Chile.
There have been several international developments in safety measures for winch-assist technology based on recent learnings.
Rules, approved codes of practice, best practice guidelines:
Equipment manufacturers’ manuals and guidelines—all winch-assist equipment manufacturers provide their customers with manuals, guides, and training with varying levels of comprehensiveness. Topics may include:
Equipment manufacturers’ designs:
While it may be difficult to set universal rules for winch-assist technology due to the varying nature of forestry operations—constantly changing terrain, weather, surface and stand conditions; operator experience and aptitude; economic feasibility and accessibility; social acceptance and license, varying environmental standards—it is certain that winch-assist technology will save lives in British Columbia.
By Gail Johnson - WorkSafeBC Magazine October 2016
Using fall-arrest equipment correctly is integral to safety. A shock-absorbing lanyard improperly rubbing against a sharp edge, could cause “catastrophic failure” according to recent research.
Reliable fall-arrest systems are critical safety equipment for workers at risk. Falls from heights continue to be the major factor in worker deaths in general construction and are some of the most frequent and costly incidents in B.C. workplaces. New research supported by WorkSafeBC looks into how the reliability of fall-arrest systems could be affected by various environmental and workplace factors like dirt, heat, UV light, and cuts.
Carolyn Sparrey, associate professor in the field of Mechatronic Systems Engineering at Simon Fraser University, set out to study the effects of various exposures on the performance of fall-arrest systems, with funding through an Innovation at Work research grant from WorkSafeBC.
Manufacturers are required to make fall protection systems that meet the standards set out by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). While they do of course test their lanyards and harnesses for compliance and the effects of wear and tear, they often don’t publicly publish their results, and very little independent research has been done. Sparrey and her team wanted to perform independent analysis on how fall equipment was affected by work-related wear or damage, or the effects of contact with a sharp or rounded edge.
“We know falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injury,” says Sparrey. “I realized research in this area could inspire better design of fall arrest systems and better outcomes for workers.”
Putting fall protection to the test Sparrey’s team tested several styles of shock-absorbing lanyards in dynamic drop tests to determine the effects of environmental exposure, tool damage, and contact with rough and sharp edges on fall arrest dynamics.
It was a collaborative project. They tested the lanyards in a CSA-compliant drop test facility, built for this study, at the Steel Trades program at the British Columbia testing gave them a rare glimpse into the importance of fall protection and the reason workplace-safety research matters. “The transfer of knowledge that occurs by working alongside ironworkers is even better than I could have hoped,” says Sparrey. “They ask great questions based on their experience that will inform the next stages of this research.”
“This innovative study went beyond testing fall-arrest systems,” says Lori Guiton, WorkSafeBC director of Research Services. “Because ironworking students at BCIT had an opportunity to contribute to the project, they got to learn about the research process and help to shape future stages of the work. Dr. Sparrey’s research could also lead to enhancements in the design of fall-arrest systems, ultimately keeping workers in dangerous professions like construction and ironwork a lot safer on the job.”
Back to Top
New Year's Day traditionally coincides with promises of getting into shape, eating healthier foods, finding balance, and curbing your spending. But what if your fitness and health and wellness resolutions conflict with your desire to get your personal finances under control? After all, joining a health club and eating organic foods could put strain on your budget.
It all comes down to priorities. Your New Year's resolutions are worth doing and budgeting for – they are an investment in your physical and mental health.
How to get started
You're worth it.
Investing in nutrition, fitness, and work-life balance is one that will yield important dividends immediately and over the long term. You're worth every penny!
This wellness article is courtesy of Shepell at workhealthlife.com.
SUBSCRIBE TO SAFER.CA NOW!
SAFER YouTube Channel
featuring the SAFER.ca
"In The Clear" Video Series
On The Hillside - In the Clear
In The Landing - In the Clear
Driving Logging Trucks - In The Clear
In The Dryland Sort - In the Clear
FIPI - Fire Inspection &
Compilation of Forest Industry Best Practices for Control of Combustible Wood Dust
SAFER is jointly
It is pretty clear to someone just hearing about SAFER that safety is the chief concern of this organization. The name, SAFER, stands for Safety Advisory Foundation for Education and Research. SAFER was created through broad negotiations between the IWA Canada (now United Steelworkers) and FIR on the coast and the IFLRA in the southern interior for the 1988-1991 master collective agreements in both regions.
SAFER continues to be jointly managed by USW, FIR, and the IFLRA where the industry and the union enjoy equal representation. Under the leadership of two Co-Chairs selected from the union and industry ranks, the SAFER Council coordinates its safety activities and initiatives under the guidance of eight safety advocate board members and six trustees.