Radio Protocols Lead To Safer Forest Travel
Jul 31, 2008
CAMPBELL RIVER - A pilot project on radio communication protocols aims to improve safety and reduce collisions on resource roads, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.
"In my years in the logging and trucking industry I recognized the importance of safe radio practices. It always concerned me that practices were not common from one road system to another," said Bell. "This pilot project is an important part of our ongoing commitment to safety. It is also another example of the cooperation we've seen in recent years between forest companies, workers, and government agencies that have led to a significant drop in injuries and claims. There is more to do, but by working together we'll continue to make our forests safer."
The goal of the project is to improve road user safety through standardized radio call procedures for forest service roads. A block of dedicated resource road radio channels along with standardized call procedures and road signage is being piloted on Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and one road system in the Tumbler Ridge area.
Previously truckers needed to reprogram their radios to gain access to local radio channels as they moved around to different work locations. In the pilot areas, only a single set of radio channels is being used on forest service roads. New communications signs posted on the pilot roads indicate which radio channel to call, call frequency, direction being travelled and vehicle type. The new radio procedures were implemented earlier this year and the findings from the pilot projects will be evaluated this fall prior to considering provincewide implementation.
"This project is a great example of a partnership that's working," said MaryAnne Arcand, director of TruckSafe. "I'm very pleased with the progress being made on safer travel in and out of the bush, and look forward to provincewide implementation."
The protocol, radio channels and signs were developed by the radio communications working group, initially formed in 2006, with representatives from the Ministry of Forests and Range, BC Timber Sales, Industry Canada, BC Forest Safety Council/Truck Safe and FPInnovations. The working group held numerous meetings with forest licensees and truck drivers in developing the protocol.
The radio communications pilot builds on efforts to improve forest worker safety, beginning in 2003 with the forest safety task force, stepped up inspection and enforcement by WorkSafeBC, and additional resources to support safety programs provided through the Ministry of Forests and Range and the BC Forest Safety Council. More recently, in June, BC Timber Sales announced that all employers and parties directing activities on timber sale licences must be SAFE Company-certified by January 1, 2009.
Please visit [www.for.gov.bc.ca/pab/media/] for copies of the signs and recent statistics on forest safety.
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