WorkSafeBC fines tree faller

WorkSafeBC has levied a fine against one of the firms contracted to fall trees in the effort to contain the spruce beetle.

OBO Forest Management GP Ltd. was levied a $2,500 penaly in November, according to a WorkSafeBC posting, after the agency inspected the work of two employees and found several regulatory requirements had been violated.

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"Sufficient undercuts had not been made, undercuts were not complete or cleaned out, holding wood was not maintained, and backcuts were not higher than the undercuts," WorkSafeBC said. "Felled trees had been allowed to brush standing trees, and safe escape routes had not been prepared.

"These deficiencies indicated that the firm failed to ensure hand falling was done in a way that protected workers from trees being felled, and were high-risk violations."

OBO had been contracted to fall "trap trees" - a healthy tree cut down to mimic blowdown, the insect's favourite food. Once infested, the trees are put through a hot-million process to kill the live adults and larvae.

Aerial surveys over the summer showed 210,000 hectares of forest in the Omineca region damaged by the bug, up from 156,000 in October 2015. At 137,000 hectares the Prince George forest district is the most heavily hit while the remainder is within the Mackenzie district.

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