There is uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of using caulk boots vs. non-caulk hiking boots in silviculture work in the interior of British Columbia. WorkSafeBC regulation 8.23, states “caulked or other equally effective footwear must be worn by workers who are required to walk on logs, poles, pilings or other round timbers”, but does not specifically require caulk boots to be worn on steep slopes. Caulk boots are used almost exclusively by silviculture workers in coastal B.C. but are not commonly used in interior B.C. even though there are many situations where they may provide superior traction. Instead, workers in interior B.C. have a preference for non-caulk hiking boots. Workers will often select their boots based on personal preference rather than on information about the boot’s traction performance. Additional information regarding the differences in the traction of caulk boots and non-caulk hiking boots on various forest ground surfaces would help most workers make better-informed choices. Understanding the differences in traction is one of the most important factors when selecting a work boot in any situation and is especially true in the hazardous ground conditions of forest workers. For this reason, FPInnovations constructed a testing apparatus designed to measure and compare the static coefficient of friction of caulk boots and non-caulk hiking boots on four common types of ground cover surfaces in B.C. forests.
Auto tarping system has the potential to reduce tarping-related injuries. Therefore, in cooperation with the BC Bulk Haulers Injury Elimination Task Force, FPInnovations reviewed two prototype auto-tarping systems that will work on flow-through type B-trains. Initial observations for these systems were documented in this Info Note
The Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) participated in a study involving injury reduction and performance enhancement for tree planters. The tree planters were assigned one of three treatments: consuming a placebo drink supplement, consuming an electrolyte carbohydrate beverage as a drink supplement, or following a physical training regimen for eight weeks prior to the planting season. FERIC determined the productivity and the quality of planting for planters working in the different treatment groups, and also determined if other factors, including experience, gender, time of day, and terrain conditions, influenced the results.
The motion of throwing and securing log load wrappers can cause a great amount of stress on drivers’ shoulders and overexertion-related musculoskeletal injuries are quite common among log truck operators. Sections 4.46 to 4.53 of BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations outline the requirements for taking steps to prevent musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. FPInnovations, in collaboration with the Load Securement Working Group (a subcommittee of the Log Truck Technical Advisory Committee that focuses on initiatives that reduce the risk of injuries to log truck operators), has conducted a literature review and surveyed contractors for ideas on how to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury. The result being simple to complex solutions being investigated that had the potential to reduce or eliminate the injuries related to throwing wrappers. The most promising solutions were shortlisted and will be investigated in further detail as part of project phases 2 and 3.
FPInnovations completed a study that investigated the slope limits of mechanical site preparation (MSP) and steep slope - related injury risk for tree planters on 35-50% slopes near Princeton, B.C. and 54 - 80% slopes near Chilliwack, B.C. Slope and GPS data were collected for tracked disc-trenching and excavator mounding equipment on moderate slopes. Planter productivity, slope, and other site data were collected for track disc-trenchcing and excavator mounding equipment on moderate slopes. Planter productivity, slope and other side data were collected on both moderate and steep slopes with slash. The excavator and disc-trenchers worked on all the ground they could effectively cover and their movements were recorded with GPS tracking. Slope and GPS data confirmed tha tthe operational capabilities of the MSP equipment corresponded with WorkSafeBC steep slope guidelines. The trial data analyses indicated tree planters experienced a higher frequency of slips, trips, and falls due to slash-related obstracles on slopes greater than 50%.
FPInnovations conducted a study of pre-commercial strip thinning treatments in a very high density, naturally regenerated (age class 1) lodgepole pine stand. Semi-mechanized treatments combined mechanized strip-mulching and motor-manual thinning. Both, semi-mechanized and fully mechanized treatments were less costly than conventional motor-manual thinning. Semi-mechanized treatments preserved enough trees to meet post-thinning density objectives. Fully mechanized treatments produced tree densities above provincial minimum stocking standard densities, but below target spacing densities. Even though sufficient trees were preserved, it is unclear whether fully mechanized treatments will be able to meet the long-term stocking objectives.