Manual tree faller injuries per 10,000,000 m3 of wood, Coast Forest Region, 1997-2010
- Manual tree fallers have the highest overall injury rate and the highest serious injury rate (amputations, fractures, fatalities) of all occupational groups in BC.
- In an effort to prevent injuries and fatalities, WorkSafeBC, the BC Forest Safety Council, and other stakeholders introduced a faller certification program. By 2006, all manual tree fallers in BC were required to obtain a safe work practices certificate either through extensive training and examination for new workers, or examination alone for experienced workers.
- We used workers’ compensation data and certification registry data to examine (1) injury trends among manual tree fallers and (2) the effect of certification on individual injury risk.
- We found that the rate of injuries among tree fallers declined between 2003 and 2010.
- However, we found that certification was not associated with a reduction in individual injury risk.
- In the quarter prior to certification, injury risk dropped slightly. This may be due to alteration in work practices in preparation for certification.
- In the quarters post-certification, injury risk increased slightly. This may be due to a jump in reporting.
- We also found a greater risk of injury for specific groups of fallers: young workers, those with previous claims, those with advanced certification, and those who worked during periods of high unemployment.