Tragedy a reminder to secure vehicles before repairs and maintenance

Loaded Logging Truck on Highway Near Cache Creek, photo by BC Ministry of Transportation on Flickr

Loaded Logging Truck on Highway Near Cache Creek,
Photo: BC Ministry of Transportation on Flickr

A worker died on January 31 when he was run over by a logging truck he was trying to repair with a coworker. They were driving the empty truck to a logging camp near Fraser Lake when they stopped to fix a mechanical issue, reports this safety alert from the BC Forest Safety Council.

We don’t yet know exactly how this tragedy happened. It’s still under investigation by WorkSafeBC and the BC Coroners Service. What we do know is that the forest industry has seen an increase in fatal incidents involving young log truck drivers.

Three lives ended in the last year in separate log hauling fatalities.

“Sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and colleagues affected in any workplace incident. Every family member expects to see their loved ones return safe at the end of the work day, so it’s really important that we all understand how incidents happen so that we can prevent them from happening again,” says Trish Kohorst, Transportation Safety Program Manager with the BC Forest Safety Council.

“While this particular incident is still under investigation, most incidents happen when there is an upset condition. Using proper lockout procedures and chocking vehicles when performing any type of maintenance is the recommended practice.”

Trish says there’s an increase of young workers coming into the log hauling sector, and the industry recognizes the critical importance of ensuring these workers are trained and competent.

“The future of the industry depends on our ability to attract, train and maintain competent workers,” Trish says, describing how a larger pool of truck drivers has been available to BC’s forest industry because of the downturn in the oil and gas industry.

“All employers should review if training and mentoring systems address not only the large components of driving, but also the smaller details that can surprise a new driver, so that we can ensure these workers are trained and competent.”

The Log Truck Technical Advisory Committee is a group of log truck operators, contractors, FP Innovations, and regulators, with the administrative support of the BC Forest Safety Council. They developed the Log Truck Operator Competency to reduce injuries and fatalities of log truck drivers.

“This was developed through hundreds of hours of work to identify the skills, knowledge and attributes required in the log hauling profession,” Trish says.

The objectives of the Competency are:

* Developing drivers that are qualified (skills, knowledge, attributes) to operate logging truck configurations in a range of circumstances across BC

* Identifying and recognizing log haulers that currently meet the competency

* Providing industry with a tool to help assure employers, licensees and the public that Log Truck Operators have demonstrated competencies for their profession

* Supporting training programs with tools to train and evaluate candidates to the recognized competency

Thanks to Trish and everyone else working to prevent these tragedies.

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