Forest Safety Leaders Recognized at Provincial Safety Conference

October 5, 2009

Vancouver, B.C. – (October 5, 2009) – The BC Forest Safety Council and Ministry of Labour have recognized two forestry workers for advancing safe practices in BC’s forest industry.

Roger Whittaker, safety co-ordinator for 3 Leaf Contracting in Powell River, is the recipient of the Council’s “MVP” Safety Leader of the Year Award. The Cary White Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to faller Jack Miller of Port McNeill, who is employed by Western Forest Products, Englewood Division. Both awards were given out during the second annual Vancouver Island Safety Conference on Saturday.

“Change can only happen in our industry when people stand up for safety and become advocates for a different forestry future,” says Reynold Hert, BC Forest Safety Council CEO. “Jack Miller and Roger Whittaker are true safety leaders and we are proud to acknowledge their contributions to our industry through these awards.”

Miller and Whittaker were presented with the awards at the Vancouver Island Safety Conference held in Qualicum Beach on October 3rd. The free industry conference focused on how to provide effective safety leadership during challenging economic times. Entitled Leading Change Today for a Safe Tomorrow: on the Floor, in the Bush, the conferencewas designed to help forestry workers and professionals learn best practices, ask questions and plan for future success.

“Together we have made great strides in reducing serious injury and death among forest workers,” says Labour Minister Murray Coell. “The innovation and commitment demonstrated by individuals and groups working within the industry has contributed to that success.”

The Safety MVP of the Year Award is given to an individual or group that promotes forest safety in BC by developing new safety initiatives or innovations that have made a difference in forest worker safety. Whittaker was selected from a dozen other forest professionals from across BC for his dedication to and passion for safe practices in the industry. Determined to keep people safe on the job, Whittaker organized a safety symposium in Powell River that attracted more than 150 people He was recognized at the conference along with runner up Randy Boas from Holberg, BC.

The Cary White Memorial Award was created in honour of one of the Council’s first forest safety advocates who passed away in 2008. It is given to an individual who demonstrates a steadfast commitment to improving awareness, expanding safety knowledge and developing safety skills on the ground in the forest sector. Most importantly, this individual helps to build a lasting culture of safety for every worker in the industry. Miller was selected from among nine candidates for his 35-year-long commitment to forest safety and his vigilant safety advocacy work. In addition to Jack Miller, Stu Smith of Lake Cowichan was recognized as runner up.

More than 200 people attended the conference, which included a keynote speech from Minister Coell. It was organized by a steering committee comprised of labour, industry, WorkSafeBC and the BC Forest Safety Council.

The BC Forest Safety Council is a not-for-profit society dedicated to promoting forest health and safety. The Council was founded and is supported by all major forestry organizations in BC and works with forestry employers, workers, contractors and the provincial government and agencies to implement changes necessary to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries in the forest sector.

For more information or to obtain photos of the award presentation, please visit www.bcforestsafe.org.

Roger Whittaker (second from right) and Jack Miller (third from right) accept awards for their dedication and commitment to promoting forest safety in B.C. from BC Forest Safety Council CEO Reynold Hert (left) and Labour Minister Murray Coell (right). Randy Boas (second from left) and Stu Smith (third from left) were recognized as runners up.

Jack Miller, Cary White Memorial Award
Western Forest Products faller (Englewood)

Jack has spent the past 35 years working in the forest industry, with three decades of experience as a faller. The entire time, he has been an active member of the Western Forest Products’ (formerly Canfor) Nimpkish Safety Committee. Currently, he is a safety officer for United Steelworkers Union Local 1-1037 and a member of the coroner’s panel investigating logging fatalities. As a natural mentor and teacher, Jack has been a dedicated and vigilant advocate for faller safety and safe work practices in BC’s forests.

Roger Whittaker, Safety MVP of the Year Award
3 Leaf Contracting safety co-ordinator, Powell River Safety Symposium organizer (Powell River)

Roger is known for his consistent passion for safety. After attending the 2008 Vancouver Island Safety Conference and recognizing that many of his Sunshine Coast colleagues were not able to attend, Roger began planning and organizing a local safety event. Three months later, the Powell River Safety Symposium drew more than 150 people from various resource industries and was sponsored by major forestry players such as Western Forest Products, the BC Forest Safety Council and WorkSafeBC. His individual efforts have set an example of how one person’s determination and belief in safety can influence thousands.

Stu Smith, Cary White Memorial Award Runner-Up
Safety Advocate, Smith Safety Solutions Inc. owner

With 40 years of forestry experience under his belt, Stu understands how to stay safe in every occupation in the woods. He has made safety education an integral part of his own progression through the industry and as a result, is an award winning safety leader. He has been recognized for developing and implementing safety programs while encouraging workplace cultures that embrace “safety for life.”

Randy Boas, Safety MVP of the Year Award Runner-Up
Western Forest Products operations manager, Holberg

Randy is well-known in the industry for his genuine interest and belief in safe practices. He believes an injury-free forest industry is a possibility and pursues forest safety ideas, innovations and activities daily in order to make a difference. In less than three years with Western Forest Products’ Holberg operation, Randy assisted in decreasing the company’s medical incidents and dramatically improving its safety performance. He is a strong safety leader that achieves results designed to keep workers safe on the job.

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