Pulp and Paper Canada

Renewal fee for fallers to help save lives

January 8, 2008  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Vancouver, BC — BC’s forest industry is stepping up its approach to ensuring all fallers are working safely on the…

Vancouver, BC — BC’s forest industry is stepping up its approach to ensuring all fallers are working safely on the job. The BC Forest Safety Council is launching a long-expected annual renewal fee system for the provinces 3,600 certified fallers, as well as piloting a re-evaluation system that will assess the skills of fallers and provide them with an opportunity to raise certification levels at least once every three years.

The safety of fallers working in BCs forests took centre stage in 2005 when 43 forest workers, seven of them fallers, died while on the job. The tragic death of veteran faller Ted Gramlich in November of that year and the subsequent coroner’s inquest further highlighted the need for ongoing training and supervision to maintain safe work practices.


“We want to honour Ted and other fallers who have lost their lives by keeping all forest workers as safe as possible on the job,” says Bill Bolton, senior advisor with the Council’s Forest Worker Development program. Bolton explained that certification is a requirement to work as a faller in BC as set by WorkSafeBC regulations. Licencees and employers are responsible for ensuring certifications are current.

The re-evaluation will take place at least once every three years and will assure the fallers skills continue to meet the existing BC Faller Training Standard. Those fallers with appropriate work habits will also be able to increase the certification level to work on steeper slopes and larger tree diametres. The re-evaluation program will be piloted in 2008 with the expectation to be fully operational and mandatory starting in 2009.

Council-trained faller supervisors or bullbuckers working on site will be able to conduct the re-evaluations. Alternatively, qualified supervisor trainers (QSTs), who have also been trained by the Council, can be contracted for a fee to conduct the re-evaluation. The faller renewal fees that begin in January will cover program administration and quality assurance costs.

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