A New Safety Certification System for the Forest Industry


Are you aware that the forest industry is working on a program that will reduce costs, create efficient operations and reduce paperwork?  With the help of the BC Forest Safety Council, industry is renewing the prequalification system that is better known as SAFE Companies certification.

What is a prequalification system anyway?  In this case, it is a process to check if a company has the necessary procedures and processes in place to be a safe, high quality and reliable organization. 

Two industry committees have been formed to overhaul the certification.  The first is the Steering Committee that is made up of senior representatives from industry organizations, licensees and unions.  This committee was formed to provide high level guidance of the process.  The Working Committee is the second group and they are doing the heavy lifting to complete the actual redesign of the system.  This committee is made up of representatives from contracting companies and licensees who have plenty of experience and new ideas.

This renewal of the system has three goals:

  • Developing an injury reduction and business management system


Pre-planning, good communications and healthy, productive employees are all hallmarks of a profitable business.  Safety and business management are not two separate things; in order for a company to reach their full potential, the two must be integrated into day to day operations.  


  • Creation of an efficient and effective tool for auditing this system


A system that focuses on managing risks “in the field” instead of managing paper will be the most effective in reducing injuries.  A focus on the leadership, competency and culture of the operation is needed during these checks.


  • System is owned by industry

                The forest industry will create and own this process and will be supported by the BC Forest         Safety Council with the necessary tools and training.  Communication is key during the                development of the system, so be on the lookout for further updates or contact the BC Forest            Safety Council at 1-877-741-1060 for further information.


In order for a meaningful renewal of the system, it is necessary to start from scratch.  The committees are focused on these three goals and are keeping open minds to find new and practical ways of building the type of system that will successfully reduce injuries and improve business operations. 

Want to get involved?  The committees will be releasing a discussion paper this fall about the new prequalification system; get a copy from your industry association or from the Council and send in your feedback. 

Steering Committee Members:

 Kerry Douglas - West Fraser Timber

Otto Schulte – Interfor

MaryAnne Arcand – Central Interior Logging Association

Dwight Yochim – Truck Loggers Association

John Bulcock - Western Forest Products

Tom Jackson – Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Ron Corbeil - USWA-IWA

Dave Whiteley - TimberWest


Working Committee Members:

Randy England – West Fraser Timber

Doug Harrison – Interfor

Ed Ma – Tolko

Glen Williamson – Hytest Timber Ltd.

Jeff Holland – KDL Group

Angelika Posselt – Tahtsa Timber

Don Banasky - Copcan


Gerard Messier is the Manager of Training and Program Development at the BC Forest Safety Council.  The Council is the industry's health and safety association and "one stop shop" for safety resources, tools and certification.



Focus on Safety