Making it easier to keep track of forms in the forestry industry

An app is in development that will enable forestry employers to use smart devices to fill out and manage health and safety paperwork. 

Forestry technician using digital tablet computer in forest for logging data collecting during deforestation

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B.C. forestry employers are trying out a new app that will make it easier to manage safety-related paperwork. The Forest Industry Reporting System (FIRS) App will enable forestry employers to fill out forms, keep records, and share documents using smart devices.

The BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) and partners created the app in response to a survey of employers in the SAFE Companies program. They reached out to owner-operators and smaller companies (fewer than 20 workers) and 450 responded.

“The majority of members are mostly involved with the hands-on, day-to-day activities, and often do not have dedicated safety resources or administrative staff to help with the paperwork required to maintain their SAFE Companies certification,” says Michele Fry, BCFSC’s director of Communication. “Some said they felt inundated with copious amounts of paperwork to complete and were overloaded with administrative requirements.”

Providing documentation of SAFE status

Workplace health and safety certification is mandatory in B.C. for companies to bid on forestry work. It’s known as the SAFE (Safety Accord Forestry Enterprise) Companies certification program and it ensures a minimum standard of safety in all forestry workplaces.

The FIRS app will make it easier to save, manage, and provide safety documentation required as part of the contract bidding process.

“The FIRS App allows contractors to manage forms so they only require one form to forward to various licensees,” Michele says. “This will help eliminate the ‘Rainbow Effect.’ That’s when one licensee requires a yellow form and another licensee requires a pink form – both of which have similar, if not the same form details.”

Currently the first stage of the FIRS App is available. Called “Quick Add,” it allows companies to report incidents (including close calls) by answering five questions and uploading photos into the record. FIRS includes a “Supervisor’s Queue” enabling supervisors, safety professionals, and company owners to review submitted records and extract important information from them, such as the severity or nature of a reported injury.

Other health and safety materials that can be uploaded to FIRS will include:

  • Commercial vehicle maintenance records
  • Emergency Response Plans
  • First aid assessments
  • Safety meeting records
  • Site inspection reports
  • Training logs

If you’re interested in participating in user testing of the app, or would like more information about the project, please contact The app is now in development and will be rolled out in various stages. The full scope will likely be available at the end of 2023.

Thank you to Michele for answering all my questions.

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