September 2009 - "Boats, Planes and Automobiles" Transporting your workers by air

Safety Alert Type: 
Province of BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Continuing our series on transportation of workers, this alert focuses on aircraft.  There are two options: fixed-wing aircraft and rotary-wing aircraft. Many of the same safety rules and regulations apply to both types of aircraft, although each type has different capabilities and limitations.

So what are my responsibilities as a forestry employer?

When transporting workers by air, you are responsible for providing appropriate policies, procedures, training and supervision to ensure their safety. This is a requirement of the WorkSafeBC Health and Safety Regulation Part 17 Transportation of Workers.

Workers must receive a safety orientation for the aircraft they fly on, and procedures for approaching, loading and disembarking must be reviewed with them before take-off. Ensure that the flight crew conducts an orientation on the aircraft's safety features, including seat belts, safety equipment and the location of emergency exits. If your crew flies over water, it is strongly recommended that workers receive emergency underwater egress training. For more information on float plane safety click here.

It is important to communicate to your workers that “the pilot is in charge.”  He or she knows the aircraft's capabilities, where it can land, and weather conditions required for safe operation. Weather can change without warning, so workers should always pack extra supplies when flying in or to remote areas because they may need to spend the night in the bush.

Where can I get more information?

The Forest Safety Council has created a set of basic safe work procedures for aircraft safety as part of the SAFE Companies Individual Owner Operator SAFEty log.  The BCFSC Aircraft Procedures provide a good starting point for this area of your company's safety management system and can be found in the safety information and tools section of our website: click here.

Always review new procedures with your safety team to be sure they are consistent with your system and appropriate for the type of work you do.
For safety guides and an overview of federal aircraft regulations, refer to the Transport Canada aviation safety website: click here.

If you are viewing a printed copy of this alert, go to www.bcforestsafe.org and navigate to the “Most Recent Safety Alerts” section on our home page to view.

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