Government of Nova Scotia gov.ns.ca
gov.ns.ca Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Lands and Forestry

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Forest Stewardship Principles

LESSON FIVE - HEALTH AND SAFETY

There are many reasons to consider health and safety in a forest operation: human suffering, lost time and money and legal responsibilities. The most compelling reason, of course, is avoiding needless loss of human life and injury. In Nova Scotia, legal responsibilities are covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Within the act, employers, employees and self employed are expected to take "reasonable precaution to protect health and safety of yourself and other employees". In other words, anybody working in the woods has legal responsibilities under the act. This also includes the health and safety of the public. If someone should wander onto the site where you are harvesting, you are responsible for their safety whether they were invited or not.

There are many responsibilities covered under the Act, including everything from the first aid to having a remote location plan. If you have a woods crew you may be required to have the following:

  • a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety act posted where employees can read it
  • phone number of the Department of Labour where employees can access it
  • a safety policy (if you have more than 5 employees)
  • a safety representative (if you have between 5 and 19 employees)
  • a safety committee (if you have 20 or more employees)
  • a remote location plan

If you are operating machinery the woods some of the things you may require are:

  • rollover protection
  • head boards
  • seat belts
  • nonskid walking surfaces
  • handholds
  • fire extinguisher

Personal safety equipment is also covered under the act. Not just chainsaw operators require personnel safety gear, but foreman and machine operators require certain amount.

These are some of the responsibilities under the act. However, the entire act is too much to cover in this manual. The Forest Safety Society of Nova Scotia was designed to help the forest industry meet the standards of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Forestry Safety Society is a non-profit organization funded by a levy on workers compensation assessments. The society has regular training sessions for employers and employees. The CORE program is directed at employers and is designed to help them meet the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Modular programs are designed for employees. Modular programs cover a variety of topics from first aid to felling trees near power lines. For more information you can contact the Society:

The Forestry Safety Society of Nova Scotia P.O. Box 696 Truro, N.S. B2N 5E5 902-895-1107 e-mail: fss@fss.ns.ca

You should also be aware of the Forests Act of Nova Scotia. This act covers wild fire. Under this act woods crews are required to have a minimum amount of fire fighting equipment during fire season.


Crew Size
Equipment
3 - 5
6 - 10
11 - 20
21 - 30
31 - 40
41 - 50
water tank
1
2
3
5
8
12
pump & hose
0
0
0
1
1
1
shovels
2
4
8
12
16
20
pails
1
2
4
6
8
10
axes
1
2
4
6
8
10
grub hoes
1
1
2
3
4
5

Reference:

The Forest Professional: Guidelines for the Stewards of Tomorrows Forests (2nd ed.) 1998. Nova Scotia Department of Labour

Exercise 5. Health and Safety

  1. You have a crew of 13 people clearing out a boundary line in August. What fire fighting equipment do you require? What fire fighting equipment would you require if you where cutting the line in December?

  2. Name three pieces of personnel safety equipment by a chainsaw operator.

  3. A contractor with a crew of 12 people requires which of the following? A safety policy, a safety representative, a safety committee.

  4. You own a small farm and cut some wood on your woodlot to earn extra income. One day you forget your safety pants and cut your leg. Can you be charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act?

  5. You are a contractor cutting on a private woodlot. The landowner comes up to see the operation, however the owner has no personnel safety equipment. Can you be charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act? What might be a useful way to prevent people from wandering onto your job site without safety equipment?

Answers