Faller Serious Injury and Fatality Review 2009 Released by WorkSafeBC

June 25, 2009

This report sets out recommendations of the WorkSafeBC internal faller serious injury and fatalities task team (“the group”), which reviewed and analyzed reports of 32 serious injury and fatal incidents that occurred from 2000 to 2008.

The group focused on 20 main points, which were considered possible contributing or underlying causative factors in these incidents. The most frequently occurring categories of contributing or underlying factors were:

The working group concluded that the risk reduction focus cannot simply be on the faller but must also address all people involved in planning, supervision, and quality control.

The group also considered why no certified fallers died from workplace accidents for 24 months between 2006 and 2007. The group felt that the actions preceding those years brought an intense focus to fallers and the industry. This was done through the BC Faller Training Standard (BCFTS) certification grandfathering process which started in 2004 and completed late 2005. In addition, one of the twenty recommendations of the Forest Safety Task Force was intended to change WorkSafeBC’s approach to compliance. This resulted in the Integrated Forest Compliance Strategy (IFCS). This strategy was intended to ensure that forestry stakeholders understood the cascading responsibilities at forest operations. The strategy used an audit type process to get a baseline of the industry. All of these intense activities on the forest sector heightened the awareness of all industry stakeholders for the need to stop the killing. Therefore, fallers were more likely to fall to the standard rather than revert to the practices used before the standard was implemented. This intense focus by the industry and WorkSafeBC led to two years without the death of a certified faller.

As the intensity of focus on the worksite diminished, there has been a reversion to the “old ways”, i.e., not industry best practices. As a result, the fatalities in the faller community resumed in 2008.

The current nature of the industry is also making quality control of falling and falling supervisor practices more difficult.

The group made seven recommendations (see page 13) in three areas:

  1. Qualified faller supervisor
  2. Faller compliance strategy
  3. Quality control process

One of the recommendations is to develop and implement a compliance audit for falling standards in planning, training, supervision, and worker professionalism. The seven recommendations can be addressed through a phase three of the Integrated Forestry Compliance Strategy.

To read the full report please click here (pdf)


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