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Forestry’s Safe-Start Initiatives Save Lives

Forest Industry Contractors Association

Media Release
31 January 2011

For Immediate Release

Forestry’s Safe-Start Initiatives Save Lives
The ‘Safe-Start’ initiatives, now common in the forest industry, are proving effective at reducing injuries in the forest in the January/February period of each year.

Prior to “Safe-Start” initiatives, which are usually a breakfast function on the first day back at work, forestry accidents had shown a spike upwards in the January/February period.

“Each and every logging contractor or crew foreman reminds their crews daily that safety is paramount and they must go home safely every night,” says Jacob Kajavala, President of the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) “so the great part about the annual Safe-Start functions is how they show the alignment of the forest owners with the contractors’ own messages on safety”.

This bodes well for forestry’s future as they have now begun to strive towards zero work place deaths as a potential and achievable goal.

“Since the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) teamed up with several of the major forest companies in the early 2000’s to launch the first Safe-Start initiatives, the figures for forestry-related work injuries for combined January-February periods have shown reductions in injury frequencies and costs for injuries per million cubic metres of harvest volume,” says FICA director, John Stulen,

“Some of the more experienced forest companies have now built into their own work terms that contractors are responsible for leading their own annual Safe-Start initiatives,” Mr Stulen adds.

Safe-Start meetings of note in recent years has been where a director of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), John Huse, delivered the opening address, reminding forest crews that their investor OTPP sees the importance of safety for the contract workforce as an ‘active partnership’ – not something their investors take for granted.

“The forest industry has worked hard to develop a safety culture,” says Mr Stulen, “the idea is to help crews focus on how to proactively improve safety.”

About Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA)
FICA’s role is to improve profitability of forest contractors and their clients. This is achieved through professional development programmes including regional seminars, workshops and networking meetings around key forest product regions of the country.


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