Photo: Selkirk instructor Delia Roberts
Selkirk College and Weyerhaeuser Company Limited Canadian Timberlands have worked together to produce a safety milestone for the company. Canadian Timberlands has completed its tree-plant operations across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, and although more than 12 million trees were planted, not one recordable safety incident was incurred for the 2011 planting season.
“This is truly a remarkable accomplishment and it is the first time in the history of Canadian Timberlands that we have achieved our goal of zero recordable incidents in this area of our business,” said Director of Canadian Timberlands, Fred Dzida.
Canadian Timberlands introduced Selkirk College’s “Fit to Plant” training program to its tree-planting contractors a decade ago—initially in Princeton, B.C., and then across all of its operating units.
“The hard work and dedication by all our staff and contractors has helped us incorporate key learning points from this and several other safety programs. The results have been excellent! Year by year our results have gradually improved,” Dzida explained.
An example of this year-to-year improvement is found in the Princeton tree-planting safety statistics. In 2000, there were eight recordable injuries in just over 17,500 hours of work. That equates to a recordable injury rate (RIR) of 91.2. (RIR is calculated as one injury for 200,000 hours worked.) As a corporation, Weyerhaeuser has a goal of an RIR of less than 1.
From 2000, tree planters working for Weyerhaeuser in the Princeton area reduced the number of recordable injuries to a point where in 2004 there were no injuries recorded. Princeton tree planters have also achieved no recordable injuries in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The most recordable injuries in any year since 2004 have been one.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world’s largest forest products companies, began operations in 1900. Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, the Canadian subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser, began operating in this country in 1965. Weyerhaeuser employs approximately 14,000 employees in 10 countries. Weyerhaeuser has always been dedicated to providing a safe workplace and they are an industry leader in their innovative safety programs.
The “Fit to Plant” program was created by Selkirk College faculty member, Delia Roberts, who holds a PhD in Medical Science from the University of Calgary and teaches in the School of University Arts and Sciences at the college. The program is a direct result of Roberts’ research and is widely used in silviculture and wild land firefighting.
The program has been recognized internationally as a landmark example of a successful workplace injury prevention intervention. Visit www.selkirk.ca/research/faculty-research/tree-planting for more information on Roberts’ research.
First published on September 15, 2011