Musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs), such as sprains and strains, are the most common injuries to treeplanters. According to WorkSafeBC, planters’ repetitive-strain claims alone cost more than $870,000 and 8,621 lost days of work between 2003 and 2007.
Information about Tree planting & other silviculture is available online from WorkSafeBC — developed in partnership with the BC Forest Safety Council, Western Silviculture Contractors’ Association, FPInnovations, Brinkman & Associates Reforestation, Western Forest Products, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“If you suffer an MSI and cannot do your normal amount of work, you won’t be able to earn money doing piecework,” reads Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries in Silviculture: Worker.
I wrote about a treeplanter who got injured at work in my post Treeplanting lessons learned from experience. He suffered an MSI one year, and — after four months of healing — vowed to be ready for the next season. He strengthened his core muscles, with reminders via email from his company’s first aid attendant.
Pre-season training is one of the recommendations in Fit to Plant — a program created by Dr. Delia Roberts, who studied the physical demands of treeplanting and shared what she learned about preventing injuries.
“Planters who followed this [Fit to Plant] program experienced 40% fewer injuries or illnesses than planters who did not train,” reads the program information.