Forestry safety review forums seek input from conventional logging operators

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Forestry Safety Review forums coming to an Ontario community near you - mark your calendar!

Safety group meeting

Ontario Forestry Safey Review forums - 2014 Infosheet

Do you work in Ontario’s conventional logging industry? Then Workplace Safety North (WSN) wants to talk to you. This spring, WSN is hosting a series of industry forums across Ontario to gain feedback from cutters and cable skidder operators with regard to health and safety training and ways to improve practices to prevent workplace injuries. This provincial initiative is in the early stages of gathering industry feedback to help with planned future updates to health and safety training, and the promotion of this training within the workplace.

At each forum, participants will learn about the latest hazard alerts, fatalities, and provincial injury trends for their sector. The intent is to raise awareness of the types of incidents occurring and gather feedback with regards to prevention. Compared to all workers in all industries across the province of Ontario, logging workers have the highest percentage of all lost-time injuries (39 per cent) due to contact with objects or equipment. This speaks not only to the dangerous equipment and high exposure to workplace hazards, but also the need for Ontario forestry workers to stay vigilant and maintain a strong safety culture.

Forestry worker with chainsaw outdoors in forest

As 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) health and safety certification program for forestry cutters and cable skidder operators, the forums represent a timely opportunity for review. The MTCU cutter-skidder operator certification program is law for anyone operating this equipment in a logging company in Ontario.  Although overall injury trends within the logging industry continue to decline, forestry firms continue to have one of the highest lost-time injury rates, with 1.72 of every 100 workers injured in 2012. In addition, one fatality has occurred in each of the last three years in conventional logging operations. The industry is aware these injury and fatality rates are unacceptable, and through updated training and the promotion of this training within the workplace, the goal is to improve overall safety for this sector.

Axe tapping wedge into tree

Once the series of industry forums has been completed, an advisory committee will be formed. Comprised of industry volunteers as well as the MTCU, Ministry of Labour (MOL), and WSN, the committee will meet following the industry forums to summarize the ideas and suggestions and bring forward recommendations.

Why attend?

  • Learn about industry trends, including recent fatalities and injuries
  • Access WSN consultants, industry information, and resources 
  • Volunteer opportunity to sit on provincial advisory committee
  • Update health and safety knowledge for your organization
  • Provide your input and recommendations on training and prevention measures to help reduce injuries

Questions to think about

Take a moment and note your thoughts on the following questions, along with any additional information or feedback you’d like contribute.

1. What are specific areas in the cutter or cable skidder operator training or the certification standard that require more attention to make the system more relevant and meaningful to your operations? Are there any gaps?

2. What are some of your challenges in following the safety procedures and/or training standards?

3. What do you like about the existing training standards and certification?

4. What best practices do you find effective in ensuring safety procedures in your workplace?

Please share your responses either in person at your community’s industry forum and/or by e-mail to WSN.

Forestry Safety Review forums coming to an Ontario community near you - mark your calendar!

The forums are still in planning process - please confirm dates and locations with your WSN Consultant-Trainer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014: Legion Hall, Hanover, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m

Thursday, April 3, 2014: Best Western, Simcoe, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

April 2014: Bancroft

April 2014: Magnetawan

May 2014: Barry’s Bay, Pembroke, North Bay

For more information, please contact your Workplace Safety North consultant


Free Resources

Visit to access hazard alerts, articles, presentations, research, videos, and subscribe to the monthly Every Worker newsletter to receive the latest news and developments in forestry sector workplace safety.

Small Company Health and Safety Program Manual is a free resource that sets out sample health and safety policies and procedures for small companies. Free download available at

Safety AuditingSafe Workplace Ontario (SWO) certification program, established in 1997, is a voluntary audit process where forestry firms can continuously monitor and improve health and safety programs and procedures. SWO can assist in assessing your current health and safety program to current legislated standards. It also provides guidance and support to improve your program through industry-specific health and safety standards that guide your firm to eliminate injuries and illnesses.

About WSN: Workplace Safety North has a long and proud history of serving the occupational health and safety training needs of the Ontario forest products industry dating back 100 years. As your non-profit safety expert, WSN provides industry-specific consulting, training, industrial hygiene and ergonomic services to assist organizations in improving and expanding health and safety programs.