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.
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.
In 2008, FPInnovations, Feric produced “A Tree Planter’s Guide to Reducing Musculoskeletal Disorders" (MSDs). The guide was aimed mostly at planters in western Canada using the shovel as the planting tool but it had no provincial boundaries and it was equally applicable to similar operations across Canada. However, because eastern Canadian tree planters also use different tools, an eastern Canadian version of the Guide was produced to include those tools.